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Resilience: An Essential Skill for FQHC Leaders

Monday, September 16, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Nick Szubiak will be presenting at NWRPCA/CHAMPS 2019 Fall Primary Care Conference


The unique and dynamic structure of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) is the modern paradigm for overcoming the gaps and challenges that have plagued our healthcare system for decades. But what leadership skills are necessary to run a successful FQHC? Organizational culture and spirit are uniquely impacted and influenced by its leaders. How a leader reacts to setbacks, challenges, and adversity, and the ways they lead through roadblocks, system challenges, and obstructions, directly influence an organization’s culture. Resilient Leadership skills are critical to adapt to the fast pace of ever-changing regulatory demands, policy changes, and funding streams. FQHCs have historically served communities with the least amount of resources yet have the highest need. This has forced FQHC leaders to think outside the conventional approaches of how we have historically done things. And this is being accomplished because of Resilient Leadership.


Leaders are challenging their teams to coordinate, integrate, and collaborate in new ways. It’s not uncommon to find a conventional hierarchy and chain of command at an FQHC. However, what makes this team different is that at any moment, with any patient or challenge, the leader of that team may change. FQHCs have teams that are flexible and fluid in their roles and support to each other with a committed respect to the traditional hierarchy.


Leadership style and presence impacts the entire organization right down to the quality of care your health center delivers. It is during times of stress, negativity, and disappointment that a leader is needed most. Utilization of the leadership skills of resiliency, emotional strength, courage, and professionalism is an opportunity to not only lead; it’s a teaching opportunity for modeling how others can be resilient.


Building Coping Skills


During challenging and stressful times it is normal for a leader to feel off balance. That state of imbalance can manifest in many ways – and often it doesn’t bring out our best. Stress can undermine our ability to lead at the most crucial times, as well as lead one to make poor decisions. As a result, situations may worsen. Under the stress of imbalance, our capacity to respond with resilience is reduced. Learning the signs to help us recognize when we are out of balance, and the tools to help us return to balance, increases our capacity to lead from a place of resiliency.


With the skills of awareness, you can consciously access resiliency in more adaptive and constructive ways. However, Resilient Leadership is not just about learning new skill sets or tools. In fact, most leaders already have these necessary skills. And yet it’s those skills that fall short or even disappear when we find ourselves overwhelmed, stressed, and low on energy. A key to unlocking our best selves as a Resilient Leader lie within understanding why we struggle to utilize these skills when we need them; and at worst why negative and even disruptive approaches can emerge. Understanding what happens to leaders neurologically, physically, mentally and emotionally is the beginning of harnessing the strength of awareness. It is in this awareness where you can access an internal sense of control and transform your experience from a dynamic of where things are seemingly happening to you, into an environment where you feel effective, autonomous and confident that you can effectively lead through. In this presence as a Resilient Leader you not only create an environment where you access the best of who you are; but you also model and create this opportunity for your health center to be their best.


By strengthening your Leadership Resiliency, you can elevate your leadership and empower your entire organization. Empowered by this dynamic you can then choose to utilize it in the ways that best serve your most valuable resource – your health center team.


I am excited to join you at 2019 NWRPCA/CHAMPS Fall Primary Care Conference and if you would like to learn and discuss more please email me at nick@nsistratgies.com and join me for our session: Resilient Leadership. The session will unpack the tools and skills to best leverage your personal strengths and leaderships skills and empower you to return to your organization with newfound energy strengthening your resiliency as a leader.


Nick Szubiak, Principal, NSI Strategies


Phone: 808.895.7679









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