The Leadership Tightrope

When a physician describes what they do they will often say, “I practice medicine.” The reason for this is because each patient, even if they are in similar disease states, usually requires a somewhat unique treatment regimen.  The same can be said of leadership. We as leaders are constantly refining our leadership styles, and to a degree practicing what we learn and observe. Just like the patients, each employee we lead is slightly different and it is up to us to adjust to them and not vice-versa. I have been a leader for three short years but my leadership style has already gone through many changes and modifications as I learn and interact with my employees.

I have also been confronted with the challenge of the leader versus manager mentality. The natural tendency when an employee is struggling is to jump in and save the day. However, did you really help them? Perhaps the better approach is to discuss the problem with the employee, give them the tools they need, whether it be knowledge or physical items, and then observe the employee working out the problem themselves. This is the tightrope leaders walk, and it can sometimes feel like the most daunting of tasks.

I start this blog with the hopes of putting together the leadership puzzle by first analyzing the pieces and then taking a step back and viewing the big picture. I just finished my 6th year as a laboratory professional and celebrated by re-certifying with ASCP. I gain my experience through being a blood bank supervisor as well as a general supervisor in a mid-sized community hospital that is part of the larger conglomerate Cleveland Clinic. Working here has given me insight into the entire gambit of the lab as well as how we interact with the rest of the medical profession. I will often refer back to issues and how they relate “outside the four walls.” This is especially important to leadership and how we keep our employees engaged.

-Matthew Herasuta

2 thoughts on “The Leadership Tightrope”

  1. Well said. I have also had issues walking this tightrope in that I was the first and only tech in my lab 9 years ago. I then was able to prove that I needed help and was able to hire another tech and actually get to be a supervisor. Being a “hands on” manager made it very difficult to step back and teach my staff the things I knew. I finally feel as if I’m in that leader role now with a great team and very efficient lab. The best part is that they are extremely engaged, having to be responsible for several aspects of our lab. And they also see that I will and have pitched in as a team player to help out when we are a man down. Leading by example is a huge part of being a great leader.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I have seen many examples of the Servant Leader work by leading by example. It is a great way to show that camaraderie and as you said engagement soon follows.

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