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Ten Essential Guidelines for Hospital Administrators

Rev. Dr. Percival J. Fernandez

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Be a good listener! [IX]

Every person working in the Hospital must be CONVINCED that you are a person who listens! You know that listening is considered today as one of the most effective way of communication. Unfortunately, today by far the majority of administrators just do not listen, or even worse, they do not know how to listen to their superiors, their colleagues and to their subordinates! Unfortunately, knowledge in the art of listening is taken for granted by many Hospital Administrators. They are overburdened with problems, as they have to deal with different types of people, and different types of problems all through the day. But one important fact is often swept under the carpet: the fact that many of the ‘problems’ that worry a Hospital Administrator could have been totally avoided in the first place, if the Administrator knew the art of listening. There are various techniques in mastering the art of listening.

Perhaps the LADDER method is the easiest one to master. In this method, the “L” stands f, or’Look’: Look into the eyes of the person who has come to your office, and wants to speak with you: (You will then indicate to that person that your attention is focused on what he/she is saying to you); “A” stands for ‘Ask’: Ask questions formulated with words that are uttered by the person speaking with you: (e.g. The person tells you about his/her son’s success/failure in school: Ask a question like ‘Which school does he/she go?); The two “Ds” stand for ’Don’t change the topic’, and ’Don’t interrupt’; “E” stands for Checking one’s own emotions and empathizing with the person speaking with you; and “R” stands for being Responsive: (Behaving in the way the person expects you to behave when he/she relates his/her problems or achievements to you). Let every one who approaches you go back from your office, convinced that you ’at least gave him/her an attentive ear!

Be humble! [X]

Remember, HUMILITY is truth. However well you may be informed there is always room for you to know something more. There is always the possibility of the other knowing more than you on a particular subject! Humility is the foundation of all virtues and is a sign of greatness. Humility does not mean that you demean yourself, it means that you are truthful.

A rider once came across some soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log without success. The corporeal was standing by as the men struggled. The rider asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied, “I am the corporal; I give orders.” The rider dismounted, went up to the soldiers and helped them lift the log. With his help the log got moved. The rider quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the Commander-in-Chief!” After he left, the corporal and his men found out that the rider was none other than George Washington, President of the U.S.A. and Commander-in-Chief of the U.S.A. Armed Forces!

One of the most difficult things for any person to do is to acknowledge one’s mistakes or failures. But the difficulty is really caused by the fact that the person does not realize the power and strength that such acknowledgement creates. The truth an Administrator of a hospital should be aware of is that the others working in the Hospital which he/she heads may be better than him/her before God in some respects! This realization will make the Administrator a humble person in the eyes of all those who come in contact with him/her, and facilitates him/her to acknowledge his/her own failures and mistakes, and further strengthen his/her ability to lead others in the achievement of the objectives of the Hospital.

Source: Health in abundance

Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay and Secretary General, CBCI

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