[Before the article – yes I know the image is not of actual SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus causing COVID-19). It’s symbolic! Pretty, though, isn’t it?]
Over the last month or so, we have been confronted with thinking about a possible pandemic. We’ve seen countries locked down, travel restrictions, hoarding of supplies, and general fear and suspicion.
And now the pandemic has been declared. So more restrictions and fear no doubt to come.
Watching this all unfold, at times I am worried about how we as humans are behaving while at other times I’m impressed by logical thinking and care shown.
I’m in several healthcare related social media groups and its been interesting to read the comments over the last month or so. I’ve seen healthcare managers fiercely protective of their staff’s health, doctor surgeries actively striving to inform patients. I’ve seen people using videos to show others how to protect themselves and posts in groups sharing fact sheets, government contact details and other helpful resources .
All in all I’ve been inspired by the positive approach taken by frontline health workers. And even larger businesses who are doing their best to prepare and maintain their businesses and workers’ benefits.
So COVID-19 has got me thinking – largely about the impact of fear, difficult situations and public safety on the way we manage and lead. Especially in healthcare.
So for what it’s worth, these are my wonderings! I have some thoughts on the questions below, yet I’d love to hear from you!
- Fear is a natural reaction during global crises and irrational behaviour is a common outcome. How do world leaders best address this? And how are they doing so far with this crisis?
- Healthcare managers and leaders are at the frontline dealing with sometimes emotional and challenging behaviour during times such as these. In these times, what are they doing specifically to maintain staff morale and continue to provide good customer service and patient care?
- Most humans do not like being told what to do or being restricted in their ‘freedoms’. How do we balance individual needs with public safety as managers and leaders of healthcare teams?
Overall, I have faith in our healthcare teams to treat, contain and minimise the negative impact of this current virus. While it won’t all be good news, I think that we have an enormous number of dedicated, hard-working, smart and empathetic people working across all forms of healthcare (human and animal) and striving to make a positive impact in their sphere of influence.
My hope is that this crisis strengthens healthcare teams and cultures in the longer term. Over the years I have seen fear, distrust and anxiety cause dysfunction in some healthcare teams. I’ve seen and heard some terrible stories of conflict and bullying. I’ve witnessed toxic workplace cultures full of misery. And I’ve also seen amazing people turning these cultures around and building productive and committed teams.
So I am hopeful that the fear and distrust we see in some areas does not negatively impact the people in the frontline. Because I truly love the healthcare sector and believe we – each of us no matter our roles – can make it an even greater place to work.
Along these positive hopes for healthcare, I’ve recently established a Facebook tribe on a mission to impact (at least) 10,000 communities by supporting healthcare managers and leaders to create extraordinary teams. (If you want to join us, you can request to join our tribe here.)