July 8, 2018
What Makes an Effective Manager
Managers are often portrayed as someone who oversees appointing roles and tasks to other individuals and are considered to be in a higher position than those within their management. This tends to lead to the manger-to-employee relationship to feel like a “cog in a machine” and a “controller”, in which the manager dictates directions to the employees who have no say in what their tasks are. This can cause unwanted tension in which employees cannot effectively communicate to each other or their managers. The miscommunication in the work place can lead to unwanted outcomes that could be prevented if the manager were to build better relationships with their employees.
One problematic field in which a manager-to-employee relationship is the medical field. In the past, hospitals have been known to have poor communication between doctors, who act as managers, and nurses, who are under the doctor’s orders (Mackay, Matsuno and Mulligan). As a result, many avoidable injuries and deaths have occurred due to the lack of communication and hierarchy of command that the doctors had over the nurses. In turn, the nurses were unable to provide medical treatment without prior consent with the doctor, who may not have been available at a critical time for the patient. It has also been noted in a study (Linebarger) that nurses are not included in doctor rounds (patient strategy sessions between doctors assigned to that patient).
Over the years, the medical industry has acknowledged that there is a problem with doctor-nurse communication and have passed regulations to attempt to alleviate these communication inefficiencies. Instead of nurses required to wait for a doctor’s approval or instruction for each task, the nurse is entrusted with decision-making based on their skill and knowledge level (Linebarger). In time, some clinics have adapted an iterative learning process to improve the communication process to improve client safety, called Sensemaking (Manojlovich). Sensemaking is a process in which a professional can deviate from an already-defined process with buy-in of other coworkers with the appropriate knowledge in the event that the new process makes sense: either for safety, speed, quality, or patient satisfaction (Barach and Phelps). The communication between nurses and doctors have vastly improved as result of Sensemaking, as nurses have as much power to initiate a Sensemaking change as any doctor would. This structure allows doctors (managers) to hear out their employees when the employee has applicable knowledge of the situation.
An effective manager should demonstrate strong leadership and communication skills with their employees. Employees should have autonomy in decision-making at their knowledge level and relay their decisions to their managers. Managers should encourage employees to communicate their knowledge effectively, so they can build a larger picture of the situation and handle the tasks that they are skilled in. Effective managers tend to have a strong love for the company and their job, truly care about their employees’ wellbeing, and have the ability to make informed decisions with proper knowledge and empathy. A strong manager should also be invested in their company’s culture, striving to make the company better and their employees happier. They should strive to keep a positive attitude when dealing with employees, and ensure their employees feel open to discussion with them. Acknowledging that the employee has skilled knowledge and opening that funnel of communication between the manager and other employees demonstrates not only an effective manager but results in an effective team.
Barach, Paul and Grant Phelps. "Clinical sensemaking: a systematic approach to reduce the impact of normalised deviance in the medical profession." Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 106.10 (2013): 387-390. 8 7 2018. .
Linebarger, Nina. INCREASED COMMUNICATION BETWEEN NURSES AND DOCTORS ON AN ACUTE MEDICAL UNI. San Francisco: University of San Francisco, 2014. .
Mackay, Ruth C., Kiyo Matsuno and Jon Mulligan. "COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS BETWEEN DOCTORS AND NURSES." International Journal for Quality in Health Care 3.1 (1991): 11-19. 8 7 2018. .
Manojlovich, Milisa. "Nurse/physician communication through a sensemaking lens: Shifting the paradigm to improve patient safety." Medical Care 48.11 (2010): 941-946. 8 7 2018. .