USA Welless Café Training
Target Audience: EMS Personnel and Healthcare Workers
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The following text may be utilized freely by anyone as auxiliary training to enhance coursework, leadership seminars and workplace discussions. Hopson Global Education and Training offers these complimentary materials, based on the company’s accredited classes provided to hospitals, universities and EMS organizations in the past. Click on the “About Us” icon on the USA Wellness Café home page to review our clients.

"Empower Others to Lower Your Own Stress"

Author: Judi Light Hopson*

Would you like a strong team of people to support you, especially during times of extreme stress? You may feel anxious—as you wonder how you’re going to strategize in order to get things done. In addition, your supervisor might be watching you closely. You may worry that your job is in jeopardy.

For example, a nurse we’ll call Trisha is a hospital floor supervisor. Trisha, says, “I’m tired of non-compliant co-workers! Where do I find people who share my passion for getting things done?” Trisha constantly fantasizes that a brand new staff of workers might be the answer.

Eradicating all present employees and starting over with new staff isn’t the true solution, however. But, expanding your work role to include the unofficial title of “career coach” is the best strategy. Your leadership “power” lies in bringing out the best in other people.

Your work/life balance will improve as you:

  • Uncover the strengths of those around you
  • Find their weaknesses, so you help them succeed in spite of those weaknesses
  • Plan ahead to help all individuals work productively
  • Envision creating a team of individuals who enjoy coming to work

Examine your own stress management strategies. Did you know there’s a lot you can do to help everyone in your work environment? By rethinking the ways you interact with other people, you can change the chemistry of your work setting. During this process, your associates will begin to perceive you as a good leader.

Keep in mind that you run your own life largely on the strengths of other people. You can’t do it all by yourself—at work or at home. Relying solely on your own talents, ideas and skills will fail at some point. The best insurance is to grow your workers—who will rally around you when the going gets rough—via encouragement and showing them what they do best.

Scenario I

A hospital CEO we’ll call Ed, nearly failed in his early career. “I was running a retail store after college,” Ed explains. “My favorite thing to do was make notes about mistakes employees were making. Worse, I pointed these things out to them—in open meetings.”

Ed’s uncle, a football coach at a large university, kept hearing Ed’s dissatisfaction with his job and his workers. “My uncle sat down with me one Saturday afternoon,” says Ed. “He explained that finding the strengths of my employees would make the business take off. My uncle told me I would be shocked at how competent people really are—if they are given encouragement.”

Two decades later, Ed is considered one of the best bosses in his hospital’s history. He personally assists the hospital’s education team by teaching classes on how to empower others. In addition, Ed knows when he takes a vacation himself, things will run smoothly.

“As an executive, when you train your administrative staff to run the corporate offices as a strong team, you can take a vacation without worry,” says Ed. “You want to train people to do everything you do. This frees you up. You can concentrate on bigger goals or different goals.”

Scenario II

A paramedic instructor we’ll call Jack shares this story: “When I was a young EMT, I was worried sick that my intubation skills were shaky. Would I end up killing someone, because I was too prideful to ask for help? I was only rescued when one of my shift supervisors spoke up. She gave us a brag sheet on our best qualities and what we were doing right. Then, she offered to coach me and several others on improving any medical skills that we felt we weren’t proficient in administering.”

Jack says the shift supervisor was very kind. “She confessed that she used to worry about asking for help from others. She made it safe to speak up,” Jack explains. “I think we tend to respect others who don’t pretend to know everything. People will bond with you, if you make it comfortable to be human.”

Scenario III

A doctor we’ll refer to as Dale shares his story: “I learned early in my career that good leaders run their departments on the strengths of others. I’ve experienced critical events whereby the lowest person on the totem pole, so to speak, saved someone’s life. Doctors know that a nursing assistance might extract an important piece of information from a child’s relative. Or, someone talking to a 911 caller over the phone can make the difference in that caller staying calm. I’ve worked in many hospital settings, and the first order of business is to learn what everyone does well. Saving lives is centered on relationships—as much as it is centered on medical training. Tapping into the talents of your team is just as important as any degree hanging on the wall.”

* Judi Light Hopson is America’s foremost authority on police/fire/EMS stress issues, co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress (Pearson/Brady), a national columnist for McClatchy newspapers, consultant to firefighter organizations, and founder of Hopson Global Education and Training.

Content and educational modules posted on the USA Wellness Café are for general knowledge only. Articles and continuing education materials are not intended to replace psychological counseling. All information is based on research for the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress (Brady Books/Pearson Education) and other educational projects developed by Hopson Global Education and Training.

Try These Exercises

  • Make a list of three strengths for each of your co-workers. List writing skills, communication skills or sensitivity in dealing with families, for example.
  • Define a weakness for each person. Don’t share that information with anyone, of course. But, name the weakness so you can avoid having that weakness trip you up. For example, some workers may over-react to situations or they may have poor listening skills.
  • Spend the next month empowering your associates. Brag on a new hire’s ability to calm people down. Tell someone they helped you cope with a difficulty by how quickly they responded or offered advice to you.

Training Takeaway

Notice how much more your associates trust you—when they know you see their strengths and capabilities. It’s impossible for anyone to trust you, if they know you don’t appreciate the efforts they make. Keep in mind that if you empower people, you will have strong backup when you need assistance. The people you empower are literally your own support system.