WHY Fronts: Caught in the middle

Published: 08 October 2019 Ezine

In Synergy News this month I talk about how we use problems to either motivate or suffocate, and I tell the story of Mr Spangler the amazing problem solver (you will have to read it to find out). 

I am sure you want your teams to be the best they can be; motivated, developmental, innovative, patient centred and aware of safety and every other statutory expectation on them and you. We all know that is nirvana, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be any of your team trying to be that. 

However, exhortation to be innovative and improvement focused can leave managers and team leads feeling like they are caught in the middle. I am acutely aware of the pressures facing imaging services today; increasing patient numbers, staff shortages, gaps created by advanced practice radiographers picking up more of the workload, savings to be made and funding reduced. Need I go on?  

How then do you fulfil the expectations of teams who want to be developmental and innovative against the backdrop of pressures from senior management?

Believe me, if I had the answer to that conundrum I would be a very rich woman. But, does that mean as team leads and managers we have to stay stuck in the middle? Appeasing senior management and team members alike sounds like a job I wouldn’t want to do.

Providing evidence to both sides is often the way ahead; demonstrating that there is risk to patients and the stability of the service to senior colleagues and then a management of expectations to junior colleagues. 

Difficult though it is, sometimes we have to say no.

I understand how hard it is to say no to senior colleagues, to give them the evidence that increasing the workload pressures will have an adverse effect. Like the article in Synergy News, why not think about offering a viable alternative or solution to the issue they are asking you to take forward. 

Often, if you go with a solution, it is easier to persuade people to your point of view, as long as that solution isn’t just more staff and more money. Why not couch it in terms of service improvement demonstrating, perhaps, cost avoidance, reputational increase or better patient flow through the organisation. I have used these, some successfully some not: you know your audience best.

The same applies to junior colleagues: listen to their evidence, match it to the facts they are unaware of and find a way through. You might be surprised.

The quality standard for imaging (QSI) can help you by showing where you can get the evidence you need, how the pathways work and/or could be improved. 

Why not have a look or ask others how they have used the standard to help them gather evidence and demonstrate system improvement?  Take a look at the new webpage, www.sor.org/QSI , as lots of support is being upload as fast as the colleges can gather the evidence. 
We are here to support you as much as we can.

You can contact me at [email protected]; let’s have a conversation.

Chris Woodgate
Quality Improvement Partner