What I learnt this week: Maintaining morale – what movers and medics have in common #WILTW

This is the 46th #WILTW

Moving home can be a stressful business. Although there are greater life changing events, it isn’t often you uproot everything you own to a new location. Even if that location is less than a mile away.

Home (re)movers have a tough job. Early starts, late finishes, a lot of manual labour and the pressure of being in charge of others cherished possessions. There is also the added stress of some homes being brand new. When pristine carpets are at stake it just adds to the pressure.

moving

The day before our removal company came to us they were moving someone else’s family. At 8am the next day, they were moving another. All three families with large amounts of furniture, heavy white-goods and copious amounts of ‘stuff’ (a common byproduct of having children). A large amount of patience, enthusiasm and energy is required. But I suppose it is their job. They are paid to deliver a service which ensures that your goods are moved safely and you are happy with the way your possessions are handled. In order to achieve this the removal lead deployed some very familiar management techniques. He assembled regular tea breaks for the team. Not that many so it felt too frequent but enough it became apparent what they were being used for. He regularly touched based with us, sometimes for no obvious reason, I think to get a feel for how we were ‘feeling’. There was a lot of joking amongst the team, I wonder sometimes if at my expense, but there were definitely no long periods of team silence.

Leadership

The most powerful learning for me is that which I witness with time to digest. And so while what I observed was not new knowledge; I suggest leading with a view to maintaining moral isn’t something that features on many curriculum. Simon Carley from St.Emlyns points out it is exactly this type of feedback that leaders need. And while I’ve been party to Prof. Tim Coats thoughts on Leading an Emergency Department the following are now my own humble additions.

  • Your team need breaks. And you do to.
  • Touch base with the patients you are treating. If only just to see how they are getting on.
  • There are many sad moments in medicine. Respect these. But when appropriate have fun with your colleagues. Watch out for those who appear to be down in the dumps.

So while the removal process was stressful, it was better than it could have been….

What have you learnt this week?

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