Part III: Creating a trusted circle that brings others along with you
The premise of creating a trusted circle is answering the question: How do I move forward with what I know I need to do? Moving forward requires knowing the actual tasks needed to get the job done and it also requires a successful strategy addressing HOW and WHEN to get things done. Knowing what to do, and how and when to do it is accomplished by employing your team, and others, to support you.
One of my friends, Tracy Spears, calls this group her personal board of directors. President Truman had his Kitchen Cabinet. Billy Graham had a spiritual band of brothers who helped him accomplish so much in his evangelical ministry. Similarly, you need a trusted group who can help you get the job done and hold you accountable to do so.
This trusted circle is made up of three-to-five people who understand you and the role you play. You must learn how to allow them to help you be successful. Some of those people will be colleagues or confidants who are typically NOT within your sphere of work reports, while others will work with you and for you. Let’s create the trusted circle from its foundation.
First things first: The Elements of a Trusted Circle
I feel there are two essential elements that make up a trusted circle or team, vulnerability and accountability. Among the greatest strengths of a leader is the willingness to be vulnerable. To me, vulnerability doesn’t imply weakness. It means you are open to change and can take advantage of other people’s strengths in developing your strategy and tactics for success. To appropriately reflect a leader’s vulnerability, the members of your trusted circle must hold you accountable, because you need others to both keep you encouraged and on track with your goals.
Why do these elements matter?
Leadership in Health care is can be very lonely. Don’t expect that group of people to manage you or to give you the answers; but look for people who can inform you or cause you to ask “good” questions. I’ve had that team of people in my life, depending upon the environment I was working. I still have two or three people who have followed me throughout my entire career, but I’ve also picked up or shed others as circumstances and seasons warranted.
Who-does-what; assigning roles to your trusted circle.
Developing a trusted circle gives you both a safety net and a prodding forward when you need it. Those colleagues or confidants who are employed outside your organization can serve as your sounding board. We all know health care is complex. Running ideas and concepts by others can keep it from getting complicated. The other group of people in your inner circle is your direct report team. They are the ones who will get the job done and follow through on strategy and tactics.
As their leader, evaluate their strengths and play to them. Let your team manage their weaknesses. If you expect to “fix” someone’s weaknesses you will explore a futile task. When I am coaching leaders, I challenge them to look within their direct report team and consider their strengths, not just by job title but by performance. Do you have a receptionist who is new to the organization but has demonstrated aptitude and initiative in some area, such as gathering co-pays? Give that team member a project or job responsibility that builds upon that strength.
The biggest mistake that you, as a leader, can make is to believe that you can do it all yourself. You just burn out, no one learns anything and nothing gets done. The way to move forward is not by yourself, but through your combined success with your trusted circle. Together, you will combine your individual desires for success to create a vision on moving forward and an accountability to get the job done. So, don’t look back, you’re not going that way. Collaborate with your confidants, colleagues, and direct reports, look forward and create a future-focused vision for success. If you need it, we can help. You will get there, for sure.