Being a Leader: Move ‘em up, move ‘em forward, and move ‘em out

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By Carrie Stiles, MBA, CRA, RT(R)(CT)

Curtis Bush, MBA, FACHE, CRA presented an informative session to help leaders learn how to identify and categorize their teams. As leaders, we work with three types of individuals: committed, passive, and detached. Ideally, we work with individuals who are committed to the organization and our team. These are the individuals that we want to work with to grow and move up in position. With passive individuals, we have to differentiate whether they can be rehabilitated towards a path of accountability, or if they are on a downward trend and becoming a liability. Finally, there are detached employees that must be removed from the organization.

It is truly an art to mentor and grow the right individuals to develop an infrastructure of talent for future success. It is also incredibly important to identify the appropriate level and stage of an individual’s mindset to determine the best pathway for their development. Curt pointed out that we all have stories of great leaders that we’ve been inspired by, just like most of us have had not so great leaders who taught us what we don’t want to be. He shared experiences he has had with both types of leaders over the course of his career and how they impacted him to be the leader he is today.

Identifying and categorizing your teams involves three phases: the initial categorization; one on one conversations; and validating and aligning. Curt shared how he categorizes individuals as committed, passive, or detached based on the degree to which they have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. He also finds it helpful to categorize individuals based on their Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs). Part of categorizing employees involves taking the time to develop Individual Development Plans (IDP) to ensure that both professional and developmental goals are set for them. The IDP outlines the developmental activities and educational needs that are necessary to meet those goals and the time frame involved.

The second phase involves having highly committed conversations. First, seek to understand your employees. It is important to really get to know the individuals on your team. Personal connection reveals insights into the personal motivations of an individual that macro-level data could never provide. These conversations provide opportunities to convey your passion and vision for the team. Make time for consistent one on one visits. Listen for understanding and ask curious and clarifying questions. Observe their behaviors and build trust by being transparent.

Next, seek to be understood. It is important for your employees to know who you are as well. Share your career story and passion around leadership. What your interests are outside of work. Share your vision of greatness for the team and of the employee as an informal/formal leader.

We also discussed how to distinguish between passive performers and toxic employees. Passive performers are “I can’t” people. They are not confident and therefore need capability and coaching and can usually be put on a path to potential. Toxic employees are “I won’t” people. They don’t care and need a serious attitude change and accountability intervention, after which they are either put on a path to accountability or are “therapeutically extracted” from the organization.

Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) and accountability systems were discussed next. It is crucial that expectations be set and that accountability interventions be conducted when needed. Curt provided several useful tips on how to intervene when necessary and how to effectively deal with excuse-makers and blamers. Lastly, we discussed what to do if past performance reviews were over-rated for behaviors. Several attendees shared that this had been an issue for them when they first started in/took over a department.

Attendees thoroughly enjoyed this session and agreed that it provided them with useful information that they could take back to their departments. There was great dialogue between attendees about employee situations and common challenges. If you were unable to attend this excellent session Curt’s slides are available online and contain valuable information that you can take back to your organization.

Carrie Stiles, MBA, CRA, RT(R)(CT) is a multi-modality technologist at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX. She can be reached at


  1. I missed this session and heard it was very good. Great review, I downloaded the slides!

  2. So proud of you, Carrie and this is an excellent article! Way to go girl!!

  3. It is a great article and I am sure the presentation was great. I am sharing this with my team.

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