By Jason M. Newmark, BA, MHA, CRA, FAHRA
To me, earning the right to lead others is the most rewarding accomplishment anyone can achieve in their personal life and/or in their professional career. When you have truly earned the right to lead, not by title or place on an organizational chart, but rather by earning the sincere trust and respect of your peers, colleagues, staff, and even at times, strangers; you now have the unique opportunity to be able to influence and inspire others to achieve fantastic goals. What can be more rewarding than that?
When times are good, being in a leadership role is very rewarding (mentoring others to be their best, improving workflows and service levels, completing projects, etc.). However, maintaining this right to lead, especially as a healthcare administrator, and especially in challenging times, is the essential measure of a true leader and is not easy! As a leader, will you:
- Maintain your composure and presence while everything around you seems to unravel?
- Continue to communicate with as much transparency as possible while sharing difficult news and making difficult decisions?
- Still take the time to actively listen to and engage staff and colleagues in developing and implementing solutions even when you’re being pressured to move faster and faster?
Over the last several months, my organization has been faced with many extremely difficult challenges – declining reimbursements, management restructuring, and most recently and unfortunately, a large reduction in force – and all the while, I have been wrestling with the questions above regarding my own leadership capabilities and actions. Most of all, I am realizing and accepting that being a leader can be very, very difficult.
In the face of these challenges, here is what I’ve decided to do.
1. I need to lean on my core values that helped me to earn the right to lead more than ever before:
- Being visible, present, and in the moment with my peers and staff
- Maintaining transparency and open communication about realities, decisions, and paths forward
- Finding my own inspiration and helping to inspire and remind my teams why we all chose a career in healthcare in the first place (to provide exceptional care to patients and their families), and reassure them that we will move through these challenges together.
2. I need to continue to seek out the support and guidance of others to be the best leader I can be; and in turn, I need to share my experiences, struggles, and solutions with others to help them in their time of need.
This is the fundamental foundation and primary strategic goal of OUR association: to support and develop imaging leaders. Although I always appreciate my AHRA network, I have needed it the most during these challenging times.
- Through AHRA, we have over 5,000 colleagues that we can lean on for help and ideas
- Through AHRA, we can share best practices, just listen, commiserate, network, and truly help ourselves and others be better leaders.
I offer a sincere thank you to those of you who have responded to my calls and emails for help and ideas; shared your best practices and stories of success in AHRA Connect, Link, or Radiology Management; and considered increasing your volunteerism for AHRA.
In these challenging times, being a leader is not easy, and we need each other and our association more than ever.
I continue to ask that you take hold of the AHRA conch shell and be an AHRA leader! Share your voice or simply make yourself available to other members. Only through the sincere efforts of each one of us will we achieve all of our individual and shared goals.
Jason M. Newmark, BA, MHA, CRA, FAHRA is the president of the 2016-2017 AHRA Board of Directors. He is the vice president, diagnostic services at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.