Do Managers make a difference?
Organisations by themselves can achieve nothing. It is the managers and our staff that make the difference. We work in a people dependant business where our patients avail of services provided through the skill and expertise of our staff. People form relationships with people, so oftentimes patients form strong bonds with staff, from which they derive the confidence to cope with and manage newly acquired illnesses or disability and this ultimately helps them on the road to recovery.
In all healthcare organisations it is our managers who on a daily basis organise and coordinate the combined efforts of health service workers and who, through the effective management and organisation of our human resources, endeavour to ensure that the many millions of patient interactions which take place over the working week are undertaken successfully. The delivery of quality services depends heavily on quality staff and quality management. It is our managers who understand precisely how, and why, services are configured the way they are; how they might be organised differently; the ebb and flow of service provision and the key issues which make our services effective at the point of delivery.
Why therefore do we not invest appropriately in this key resource? It’s a mystery. In other sectors, for example those involved in commercial services or commodities, key managers would be grown nurtured and developed – so why not in the health service, where people – the health and wellbeing of our children, adults, and elderly citizens – are at the centre of the work that we do?
So rather than changing our management and invariably seeing the solution as resting in the external, why don’t we invest strategically and significantly in developing our current managers by empowering them and unlocking the potential that exists within our organisations. Let’s see managers as being an investment not a discretionary cost that can be cut at a time of tight or scarce financial resources. Let’s develop what we have, not look to replace – or even worse still – do without altogether.