PrairieCare Leadership Development Program (LDP): A Strengths Approach By: Steve White Community Relations and Patient Advocate

Dec 03, 2012 by Steve White

I wondered what happens in the Leadership Development Program at PrairieCare, so I signed up and found out.  I want to share a quick snapshot inside this educational experience, offered  by some of our creative leaders and mentors at PraireCare.

We learned that leaders love a blank sheet of paper!  It’s a creative tour of mindfulness, crucial conversations and a fruitful journey to build upon relationships.  It is the sort of curriculum that PraireCare teaches, not to just go step by step to find the only answer.  It’s not just about finding the right way.  It’s a consciousness for the business of people.  It is not only about a set of skills.  It is about authenticity, the individual uniqueness that leads to the clear purpose of the organization, of the business, of our work and our life.  Colleagues gathered with leaders.  Co-workers became friends!

LDP is refreshing and enthusiastic!  I learned that even in the midst of feeling a little anxious about the beginning of a new adventure, that deep belly breathing, can help find a calm within; and internal peace that will help us step into the next unknown, feeling more secure and confident and believing in ourselves.  It helps open up where our strengths truly exist.  There’s a focus on creativity, encourages looking at the bright side of the picture, not only seeing the obstacles or barriers in a situation and that it’s about “WE”, not me.  The training reminds me that we don’t always have the answer immediately, but can find it.

Among several “Aha” moments, the participants are able to engage in open conversations with the course leaders, learn more about interactive mind / body experience and practice listening, problem solving, being present and much more.  Our teachers encouraged using instincts, intuition, practicing leadership skills, not just being born that way, hearing the importance of compassion and hearing “Yes.  Yes. Yes.”   It reminded me of how our patients and families are the priority and how much our employees are valued as a priority too!

We get to look at our own growth needs, voice them, brainstorm and find success through collaboration.  We are facing fears, reaching for opportunities, avoiding assumptions, looking at possibilities, incorporating knowledge and humor and natural gifts.  For some it is full of learning and laughter and tears and bonding and staying open and trusting.  We are asked what activities really energize us and strengthen us.  It allows us to think and not to be perfect, but to take personal responsibility and embrace accountability.  It helps review the importance of ethics and boundaries.  It helps identify areas for improvement and reminds us of elevating the strengths.  We find that we lead best with our head and heart, in order to promote the greatest potential of the team and achieve our goals effectively and efficiently.LDP reminds the students that great leaders have followers, but they also foster new leaders.  It feels cooperative and cohesive and with common ground for all of us.  Humor and knowledge and respect are interwoven into the educational experience.  It helps us find an action plan.  It teaches that all of us working together can be leaders who help instill values and transform attitudes.  We find new approaches that may not have been learned in previous training or at the University, or in Graduate Studies or during Medical School.

It’s a wonderful journey and offers the opportunity to bond with staff from other disciplines. We get to explore the circle of life, travel with the giraffe and the jackal, practice communication and learn about transformational leaders, among many other leadership styles.  We get to tell our stories, hear others, seek out a therapeutic environment and Just Culture.  We are encouraged and supported.  “When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves’ !”  Lau Tzu, Asian Philosopher.

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