A 4-letter red flag for healthcare leaders

Mackenzie Bean (Twitter) —  Becker’s Clinical Leadership

As chief clinical officer of UNC Health and president of UNC Physicians in Chapel Hill, N.C., Matt Ewend, MD, keeps his ears peeled for one seemingly innocuous word, as it almost always represents an opportunity to break down barriers and help team members improve their collaboration and communication.

“When you hear, ‘We wanted to do something in the OR, but they wouldn’t let us,’ don’t accept that — push,” he said of the unspecific word “they” during an April 8 panel at Becker’s 14th Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Upon hearing these types of remarks, leaders should immediately ask, “Who’s they?” and encourage their employees to personally connect with the person or group, according to Dr. Ewend. This action humanizes the person behind the word “they,” allows team members to find common ground and eradicates an “us” versus “them” mentality.

“I bet you more often than not, you’ll find a willing partner or somebody who is just trying to achieve something different,” he said. “So that word never passes me.”

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