Staying on mission, being true to a shared vision, setting goals and determining the most effective strategies and tactics to move our health care agenda forward is fundamental to my work every day as a female health care executive.
Given the ever-growing complexities of health care in our current market, I get asked frequently, “How do you do this? Why do you do this? Isn’t it hard?” My answer is that I know I am driven to achieve results and while it can be difficult at times, the end result of improving care for patients we serve makes it all worth it.
While my answer is genuine, I am like any other leader who faces stress and challenges along the way. I have spent some time lately thinking about the best strategies for self-care when the demands to meet the metrics seem to outweigh the resources to get the job done.
I began to question what enables women to succeed in spite of these everyday barriers. Women are dynamic in how they respond to stress created by gender matters in the workplace in so many ways, but central to their success is the notion of being resilient.
Resilience is defined as the “capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; a toughness.” Without realizing it, successful leaders embrace this concept daily, opting to focus on the positives in the workplace, identifying what they can control and what they can’t, and focusing energy on what can be accomplished without compromising their integrity.
Here are a few guiding principles I have observed in women who embrace the notion of being resilient.
Focus on the positives
Every day is filled with stress ranging from morning traffic as we travel into the office, to the last-minute requests at work and competing priorities. There are times when not as much happens as we had planned, and typically most of that is out of our control.
However, I have found that focusing on what you have done, and tracking accomplishments is a helpful way to offset daily stress. It reminds you of “why” you are committed to the work.
Surround yourself with supportive peers
Perceptive leaders in the workplace recognize the inherent gender inequities and find ways to support those impacted in the environment. In each workplace, we know who these supports are and as women leaders we need to make a deliberate effort to reach out to this group.
A quick cup of coffee with a supportive colleague can change your day.
Mentor the workforce of the future
Women leaders have a responsibility to mentor young professionals in the workplace to promote an awareness of what it means to be resilient. Take time to mentor a new employee or student. They will value your time and you will value their appreciation of how to promote resilience.
We all so easily forget this simple way to reduce stress. Sometimes five minutes of joy can be extremely therapeutic.
Amanda Lucas, MEd, MBA, is the Executive director of Clinical Operations at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Neurological Institute. She is also the Executive Director of OSU Harding Hospital. Amanda manages operations and finances for all Neurological Institute clinical and hospital locations. She also leads efforts related to strategic growth for the institute, both in terms of volume and reputation.