Author: Dean Malpass
Healthcare managers are no strangers to the challenges of managing a team while juggling a heavy workload and it's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. Here are a few tips that may help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and still meet the needs of your team.
1. Prioritise and delegate.
When you're swamped with work, it's essential to immediately start prioritising tasks and delegate responsibilities. Identify the most critical tasks that require your immediate attention and only you can do.
For the rest, delegate to your team members based on their skills and expertise. The Eisenhower Matrix is a good reminder of how to do this.
Trusting your team to handle tasks not only lightens your workload but also empowers them, boosts their confidence and helps them gain skills that will further their own careers.
A study by Gallup found entrepreneurs who were effective delegators had 33% higher growth in their companies compared with those led by poor delegators. Of course, you must remember that you remain accountable for every task you delegate.
2. Communicate openly and honestly.
Transparent communication is the key to managing a team effectively, especially when you're overwhelmed with work. Keep your team informed about your workload and any changes in priorities. Encourage them to share their concerns and ideas and be open to their feedback.
This open communication will foster trust and collaboration. Be cautious here not to moan or complain to your team about how busy you are. You are informing them about the situation, not venting.
As Tom Hanks’ character in Saving Private Ryan explains to his soldiers, “Gripes go up the chain of command, not down”.
3. Set realistic expectations.
Setting realistic expectations for yourself and your team is crucial. Understand that you can't do everything, and neither can your team members. Be honest about what can be achieved within a given timeframe and communicate this to your team and your own supervisors. This will help prevent burnout and ensure everyone is working towards achievable goals.
4. Provide support and resources.
Ensure your team has access to the necessary resources and support to perform their tasks effectively. This may include training, tools, or emotional support during challenging times. Providing the right resources enables your team to work more efficiently and alleviates some pressure on yourself.
5. Recognise and reward efforts.
Acknowledging your team's hard work and accomplishments is crucial for maintaining motivation and morale. Celebrate successes, big or small, and express gratitude for their efforts. This will make your team feel valued and encourage them to continue performing at their best.
A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 68% of employees who receive regular recognition and praise are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. I can’t help but feel that the remaining 32% were robots!
6. Seek feedback and continuously improve.
As a manager, you must be open to feedback and continuously work to improve your management skills. Regularly ask your team what you are doing well and where you could improve to help them. This will help you grow as a manager and demonstrate your commitment to supporting your team.
Managing a team while drowning in work can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Remember, a solid and supportive team is the foundation of success in any healthcare setting. Invest in your team, and you'll reap the rewards of a more productive and satisfied workforce.
- Delegating: A Huge Management Challenge for Entrepreneurs. S Bharadwaj Badal and B Ott. Business Journal, Gallup. 14 April 2015.https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/182414/delegating-huge-management-challenge-entrepreneurs.aspx
- SHRM-Globoforce Survey: HR Professionals Indicate Recognition Programs Have Positive Impact on Retention and Recruitment. Society for Human Resource Management. January 24, 2018. https://www.shrm.org/about-shrm/press-room/press-releases/pages/shrm-globoforce-survey-hr-professionals-indicate-recognition-programs-have-positive-impact-on-retention-and-recruitment-.aspx
Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership. J Willink and L Babin. 1 Jan 2019. Macmillan US.
Dean Malpass is a Registered Mental Health Nurse, Chartered Manager, and East Midlands Clinical Senate member. He is the owner of Dean Malpass Consulting Limited (www.deanmalpass.co.uk).