Leadership and communication
By Carey Goryl, Executive Director, ASPR
With 2016 now upon us, most of us have reviewed the highlights from the past year and nearly all but forgotten our New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like most people I’ve spoken with over the past few weeks, you are busier than ever. For some of us, the end of the year becomes a small place of respite where the inbox slows down and days off are commonplace. Now that we are well into the new year, those feelings of rest, revival and renewal might be replaced with the continued pressure to “do more with less” and a longing for that summer vacation.
In times of demanding workloads and unrealistic expectations, the clarity of our communication can be at risk. We are rushed to source, contract, and onboard. Many ASPR members work as a department of one or are part of a small team that may include only one other individual. The work is constant and sometimes impossible. Yet, the challenge is viewed by many as invigorating. When we bring physicians and providers to our communities, we are truly transforming the healthcare of that community.
Our need to communicate ethically is more important than ever. When stress is high and resources are limited, the propensity to make assumptions, communicate less, or read between the lines incorrectly often occurs. So not only do we need to increase our communication, but we need to do it ethically, succinctly and with clarity.
What does it mean to communicate ethically? Much of what you think it would entail: honest, direct, respectful communication that seeks to understand rather than assume. It means addressing things head on, instead of beating around the bush. It means avoiding gossip and giving people the benefit of doubt. It means speaking up, especially if your position differs or you have relevant information. For everyone, especially leaders, this is critical as ethical communication is the foundation of trust for employees and customers.
In this issue of JASPR, we focus on leadership — from the physicians we work with to our chapters and the Board of Directors. ASPR is going through leadership changes with a new Executive Director at the helm. I’m honored to be the person selected for this position and work with this association.
When asked to write my inaugural “Letter from the Executive Director,” I immediately recognized that communication was where I wanted to begin. Our communication has just begun and I want it to be honest, direct and respectful. I want to listen so I may understand how this association can fulfill its mission and purpose. This journal is one of many methods by which your association communicates with you.
“Communication is the most important skill in life,” said Dr. Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Yet, so often our communication strategies are focused on what we’ll say rather than listening to understand. Provided that all of us understand this concept and its importance, the next step in our communication style is to be an ethical communicator. What do ethics have to do with communication? Everything.