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Growing as a Person and Wound Care Professional

March 14, 2017 by Thurston Lee, MBA, Leader-in-Training, Program Director

Throughout our lives, each of us is gifted the opportunity to lead in thurston-100x133.pngsome way. Whether it’s being a leader in your career, your home, your community, or your convictions, there are no small leadership roles. My name is Thurston Lee.  I am from Birmingham, Alabama, and I am currently participating in the Healogics Leaders-in-Training program. 

Having the chance to receive hands-on leadership training is a tremendous opportunity for me to grow as a person and wound care professional. I am in the unique position of being both a leader and a Leader-in-Training in a Wound Care Center® and through this program I have experienced moving and impactful leadership.

There are a few key leadership competencies I have been fortunate to experience and practice in my current program. These are values I believe in, and try to apply when engaging team members and patients alike.

Teacher: Whether you realize it or not, you are teaching those around you every day through your words, body language and actions. As a leader, it is important to remember you are an example to those around you as well as a student of everyone you come in contact with.

Accountable: One of the leadership traits I have benefitted greatly from is accountability. I believe a great leader sets expectations up front, holds people accountable, and is willing to be held accountable. Leaders who do not waiver in their expectations ensure that their teams know what is expected of them at all times.

Fair: This quality goes hand in hand with accountability. If you are an accountable leader, your team members will know what to expect. If you are a fair leader, your colleagues will know what is expected of them and they will be empowered to succeed. Their tasks may be difficult, but as a fair leader you will ensure you have given your colleagues the tools needed to achieve their goals. By putting your colleagues in winning situations, you will build trust and generate excitement about excelling in and succeeding at work.

Consistent: Consistency in both your actions and expectations is key. If you have the best intentions and aspirations, but your team can’t tell you their goals, you may need to reevaluate whether or not you are sending a consistent message. Goals should always be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound). When setting goals and expectations, ensure you are communicating clearly and consistently. When goals are clear and consistent, it is much easier for team members to get on board.

Flexible: Each individual has a unique way of communicating, learning, listening and doing. As a leader, it is your job to leverage those differences. Going into every situation with the same expectations can often lead to frustration or failure. The ability to adjust your expectations and adapt to new environments will take you far as a leader.

Communicator: Always remember, your team cannot achieve what you are hoping for if they do not know what you are hoping for. Be direct. Be clear. Be strategic. Be precise.

In all of our Healogics Wound Care Centers, there is a collaborative leadership team. It is this dynamic partnership between the Medical Director, Clinical Nurse Manager and Program Director that creates a culture of shared accountability. Collaboration and communication ensures we are well prepared to tackle the diverse challenges we face in caring for the needs of patients. We must never underestimate the power of leadership in retaining talented professionals and creating continuity in patient care. The importance of collaboration, communication and continuity of care cannot be overstated.