Building Harmony is Difficult but Critical
In a world where there is currently a great deal of social, political, and even religious turbulence, considering the notion of harmony may seem but a quip or a pipe dream. In reality, harmony is necessary for a well-functioning operation, organization, family or individual. And by-the-way, there is harmony happening all around us. If that seems difficult to perceive, just look out your office window and witness the harmony that is taking place between the birds and nature.
One definition of harmony is “the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.” An example of that is that of "delightful cities where old and new blend in harmony". That makes one think of cities like Savannah, St. Augustine, and Boston where history and contemporary come together beautifully.
A similar word to harmony is consonance which is “agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions.” An example of that is in this phrase "consonance between conservation measures and existing agricultural practice". Or, what about an unusual “consonance between the Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C. No time for laughing, now!
In organizations such as healthcare or other businesses, harmony is essential for a team to meet its potential. There is no successful argument against that. Teams can be driven by dictatorial managers for a time, but long term, there must be leadership and harmony to be successful. Think of the turmoil in healthcare today with mandate protests, firings, restrictions, and quarantines. Leadership with the goal of harmony remains particularly important but is currently difficult to achieve.
Harmony is sometimes misunderstood and mistaken for the desire to have everyone thinking alike. Good luck with that effort! In fact, harmony has to be achieved with everyone doing their best to get things effectively accomplished. We have to get along to serve the greater purpose of the team but surely not think or behave all in the same manner.
Real harmony in a team only happens when team members maintain a selfless spirit and a big picture mindset. In other words, I may have to give up my petty preferences to be able to engage in what is better for the team. We accomplish greater things by being together or standing together than by practicing our own individual things. We will do better together than what we can do separately. That requires that our mindset be that we understand that little has one person ever accomplished without the help of others.
A Mindset is a way of thinking. It includes how we view life. If we have a negative mindset or mindset of scarcity, our outcomes will be different than if we have a positive mindset or one of abundance. It’s not a matter of which is better, but of the question “how do we get there?” It boils down to practice and habits. In other words, the things I do today determine the habits I have tomorrow and the mindset I have for life. The first question that needs to be asked is “What kind of a mindset am I having?”
If you are a leader today, you understand some or many of the unique challenges of our time. One has to do with the workforce mindset. Recruiting during the so-called “Great Reshuffle” occurring today can be a challenge. Candidates are highly selective with their job searches, which means companies need to be innovative with their recruitment strategies.
There are many opinions about how to do this. Just join a forum when this topic comes up and you will immediately get the picture. One area of importance is by establishing a strong employer brand. It will allow you to attract a diverse pool of candidates while increasing retention with current employees. That approach will be foundational to establishing harmony in your team or teams.
Imagine leading in an environment like Ukraine today. The current war with Russia constitutes only a part of the difficulties there. Some would consider the country a mess otherwise. Since the fall and breakup of the Soviet Union the people there have been extremely poor. Ukraine is one of the poorest countries on earth, by way of comparison to every other nation. The average household income in Ukraine is about $2,145 USD per year.
Money challenges face not only nations, but healthcare organizations as well. So often we hear healthcare leaders talk about the mission and purpose versus the finances of an organization. Without the financial resources, the mission becomes that much more difficult to attain, regardless of its nobility.
With so many obstacles to harmony on teams and the challenges facing leadership, what is the answer? Despite what is facing our industry, attaining harmony is critical to success. Here are some thoughts on how leaders must behave, regardless of circumstances to be effective.
- They have to be able to muster the courage to make hard personnel and other decisions.
- They need to be fully engaged and enthusiastic about success.
- They need to build teams and the next level of leaders (and succession plans for themselves).
- They have to develop measurable, attainable (but big), and profitable goals with clear plans.
- They can’t afford to micromanage but for a moment in an emergency.
- They have to sing their team praises often and dare to share or give up the spotlight.
- They must be emotionally mature with confidence to face all the difficulties leaders are challenged by.
An effective leader knows that team building means constantly looking for what people are doing well and encouraging more of it. Effective leaders provide praise, recognize what is done well and motivate members to do even more. They are constantly looking for the next opportunity for growth and success for teammates.
Effective leaders develop other effective leaders and teams and allow those teams to excel and grow. They continuously review target attainment with the team, hold people accountable (including themselves) and follow up with them to inspire improvement. At the same time, they provide their teams plenty of latitude and autonomy. Coupled with follow-up and looking at what is accomplished keeps them informed and effectively communicating. These leadership elements create harmony within teams so that everyone is “pulling on the rope” together to achieve more.