Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Just Dinner

My dad just checked in to a Skilled Nursing Facility last week. He’s been on the decline for about five years. It's a nice place. New. Clean. Engaged staff.

There’s a new facility manager that started the same day. On Friday, I got there while they were serving dinner and the staff member put a typical hospital tray on the table with a "here's your dinner!" and then she went to the next person. On Saturday, I also got there while they were serving dinner and instead of dropping the tray, she unloaded the plates and glasses on to the table and said “they want us to lay everything out now…”

So, the story I’m making up is that the new manager had come forth with a new edict and the frontline was going to (somewhat begrudgingly) comply. They were told what they were to do and they were doing it.

My desire as a leader is to build ownership over compliance. Better that the staff had spent the few minutes to talk about… “What is the atmosphere we desire in the dining room?” “How might we create that?” "What are some other options?" “Are we in agreement?”

When I tell someone what to DO, I might get compliance. When I invite someone to provide leadership toward an agreed upon outcome, a new owner is born.