The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inefficiencies in the health system. Health care delivery deficiencies include racial disparities, vulnerable health staff, a fragile supply chain, and uncertainty of the existing system to deal with the virus. Leaders spearheaded the establishment of COVID-19 field hospitals, which took centre stage immediately after the first wave.
The following are tips leaders can learn from the approaches applied in addressing the COVID-19 menace:
1. Public acknowledgement of the uncertainty.
Senior leaders in the health sector acknowledged early enough the uncertainty about handling the pandemic. Such sentiments enabled the leaders to get help even from their juniors, who respected their transparency in handling the matter. The staffs were able to fill in the gap created by the crisis.
2. Commitment to learning while still solving problems.
Leaders embarked on learning how to deal with the crisis. There was a diversion of resources to the urgent and critical problem at hand. Multi-disciplinary management discussions took place to set learning objectives and find solutions to the crisis, thus leading to the emergence of the COVID-19 field hospitals.
3. Effective delegation of duties.
The COVID-19 Field Hospitals revealed junior health workers’ ability to carry out functions of their seniors. Leaders effectively delegated authority to their juniors, who tackled urgent, difficult problems on the ground. Members with the relevant expertise and skills were handling particular issues.
4. Prompt decision making.
The empowered staff on the ground made a difficult decision promptly without causing delays. Leaders had to consult those from the background before making the decisions. They had lively debates where they got all sorts of wild ideas.
5. Prompt and efficient feedback.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, decision making took a while. However, urgency when dealing with the outbreak made the feedback cycle short. The field hospitals reviewed data and conclusions from multi-disciplinary actions when giving prompt feedback.
6. Reversal on decisions made.
Decisions made by a field hospital leader were prone to annulment due to their hurried choices. There were daily reviews on decisions made earlier. Some of the decisions made would occasionally fail to lead to the expected results; hence a prompt reversal was unavoidable.
7. Setting expectations for individual performance.
Set expectations improved an individual’s performance. Teams learned from failure in specific experiments and perfected their methods to increase productivity. Therefore, senior leaders should set expectations and regularly coach in advance unproductive individuals before removing a difficult task from them.
8. Look after your team.
Leaders embarked on looking after the welfare of the frontline workers. There was the prioritisation of the physical, mental, and psychological well-being of health workers. Apart from providing adequate equipment to protect them, health practitioners got regular counselling and psychological support.