What’s Your Leadership Style?
I’ve had the chance to listen to many podcasts, trudge through a few books, and personally reflect on the type of leadership style I want to have and realistically, no one style is the best. Still, a couple of key takeaways I’ve gotten for myself are below:
The first is creating a low-risk environment for our organization’s therapists. Taken from Google’s approach with leadership, if fear is created between leaders and their employees regarding the repercussions of making mistakes, people are less inclined to think outside the box or suggest improvements in your current model. For us, that matters because if therapists can think of an improvement that speeds up our billing processes or improves client interactions as they wait for their appointment but are unsure whether suggesting it may jeopardize their relationship with their employer, of course, they’re not going to recommend it!
When I was first a therapist, this non-punitive style of leadership was something our co-owners embodied well. I became very comfortable letting them know if I had made a mistake in the clinic because I knew they would try to help me fix it and prevent the next one instead of reacting negatively. And that was true no matter the magnitude of the mistake! To continue embodying this in the position I’m now in, I regularly work on trust and the relationships with our therapists, show them my human side as well, and support them 100% to show them I’ve got their back.
Another component I’m working towards is facilitating leadership amongst our therapists. Sometimes I think leaders opt to make the lives of their employees (or therapists) simpler by deciding and leading things their way. Obviously, this is situation-specific, but the more opportunities therapists can have to provide input or lead an initiative, the more they feel supported and heard. In turn, their buy-in to the organization is stronger as they can grow through experience. Still, I think creating that didactic approach over time can kill creativity and growth in young budding therapists.
This can become tricky when your employee or therapist may want to lead something but lack confidence to take on an initiative, amongst other things. This is where leaders, such as myself, can intervene, whether that means discussing the hesitancy with the therapist, creating less pressure, or providing ways to support them with tasks or initiatives that they are passionate about. This also ties back to the previous point; if therapists are scared they might muck something up, they won’t stick their necks out to try it!
A mentor suggested a couple of leadership books that she got value from, which are on my list. The first is Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit. I will write a little review and takeaway after! These two broader points are things I often think about when interacting with our therapists or thinking about the future.