May/June 2007

LEAD Courses Help Build Cohesive Team

05-07_LEADlogos Photo

As the manager of a large medical unit at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Ky., Pat Jessen, RN, has multiple clinical managers on two different shifts reporting to her. To help build these managers into a cohesive team, she drew on the resources of Catholic Health Initiatives’ Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program.

“After I joined Saint Joseph in 2002, I attended some LEAD courses and found them to be interesting and helpful,” said Jessen. “About 18 months ago, three of the four clinical managers on our unit were either new to the organization or were coming back after some time away. We have a large and busy unit, and our clinical managers are absolutely critical to patient care and to the creation of a positive work environment. I thought that by taking a LEAD course together, we could establish ourselves as a cohesive team that could manage issues on our unit in a consistent way.” “We’re seeing more market-based organizations hardwiring the LEAD courses into their cultures and practices,” said Mary Steuber, director of leadership development for Catholic Health Initiatives. “Pat provides an example of hardwiring the skills taught by LEAD into the daily management that she and her team provide to their medical unit. She’s a great example of how the implementation of the skills learned through LEAD can enhance the value of the training and have a real impact on an organization.” Jessen and the clinical managers were able to arrange their work schedules so that all five could attend the “Resolving Conflicts within Your Team” course together. “It was a wonderful experience,” said Jessen. “We all got to know each other better. It was a half-day course, so we used the rest of the day for a work session in which we were able to discuss specific situations on our unit and use our new skills to solve them.” Since then, the team has also completed “Audition,” a full-day LEAD course that addresses hiring the right candidate for a job; “Symphony,” a full-day course that help leaders learn a systems-thinking approach to leadership; and “Identifying Work Priorities and Setting Verifiable Goals,” a half-day course. “The LEAD courses have helped us become a really well-oiled management team,” said Jessen. “The clinical managers recently worked together to interview and hire a new graduate nurse, and they did a superb job with the skills they learned through the Audition course. The goal-setting course has helped all of us become more skillful at setting goals for groups of employees as well as individual employees.” The team plans to continue taking LEAD courses together, with the “Working Together — Understanding and Valuing Diversity” course up next. “LEAD has provided cohesiveness to our management team,” said Jessen. “We learn the same thing at the same time, with the opportunity to discuss and implement what we learn. I believe that taking LEAD together helps us support each other and to address issues at work in a more consistent way.” For more information about LEAD, contact Mary Steuber, director of leadership development, at