Being authentic, even vulnerable, can help empower others
You have said that self-discovery and authenticity are key to your leadership journey. Can you expand on that?
By self-discovery, it is so important to understand yourself and your core values first, so you can bring these same values to your leadership. By authenticity, we have a choice about how we show up at work. When we bring our whole self and stay true to who we are, we can be much more successful as leaders and colleagues. For me, there are non-negotiable values, and I am always willing to stand up for those values. When you allow yourself to be authentic and even vulnerable, you can empower others.
What’s your advice on being a great leader with a fulfilling personal life?
Too often, the very term “work-life balance” creates stress. As soon as I hear that phrase, I mistakenly feel like there’s an ideal I need to maintain, that everything should be balanced perfectly on a scale. We can stop this false narrative. We don’t have to hide one side to be successful in the other. I focus on having clarity about what’s important right now. There are times when my kids and family take priority, and that’s non-negotiable. And sometimes there are work meetings or events I cannot miss, and I let my family know. Value your time, value your family, and make sure to focus on what’s important for your health.
Can you share a story of truly engaging your employees?
With employees, I want to be visible and connected, to let them know that I am here, listening and aware. And I meet them where they are, in a format most comfortable for them. I host all-staff town halls (virtually during COVID-19), I round regularly and have an email inbox where staff can ask questions anonymously. I also make a point to get my lunch from our hospital cafe where people tend to be more relaxed and open. Through informal conversations, I hear what’s working well and opportunities for improvement.
Burnout is a significant problem right now. How do you maintain morale and prevent toxicity that could affect performance?
I practice perspective and gratitude each day. For perspective, I pause and breathe. I ask myself, how serious is this? Then I reframe the perspective. I recognize the issue or challenge, learn from it and move on. Some days, it’s not about getting everything done, but giving your energy to the most important matter at hand and being present where you are needed most, whether professionally or personally.