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Lincoln and the "Hot Letter"

An FM leadership story: Philosophy, redemption, and growth

We have a far-ranging High Reliability podcast for your listening pleasure, speaking with Jason Tate, Director of Plant Operations at Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Las Cruces, NM.  It is an honest discussion with a next-generation healthcare facility management leader.  

Jason’s story is about transitioning into healthcare facilities management leadership from the HVAC trade, but it is also about growth and self-awareness, integrating philosophy into management, and ultimately, redemption. 

Describing himself as on the older side of the Millennial spectrum, Jason and I talk quite a bit about life, leadership, and communication. As you will hear in the podcast, Jason diligently solicit input from the employees he manages. I asked what piece of advice he would give leaders who want to improve two-way communication with staff but are hesitant to do so.  

1) You have to first work on yourself. You need to have humility, which is easier said than done. But you also have to be willing to hear, to be in a position to listen to others. Jason said that if you can’t hear others, you probably should not be in a leadership position.  

2) Read. In his opinion, Jason mentioned that part of humility is the ability to be humble and teachable, to acknowledge that you may not know everything there is to know. Jason believes that humility and learning come in part from being an avid reader.  

3) Jason’s final item was to utilize an area that all leaders have access to, Human Resources. He says to view HR as a partner to use the employee engagement tools, use the annual review, and utilize employee kudos tools. He says, “if you don’t know how to use them, ask HR how-to, and they will help you. I am 95% certain you will see a change in the culture of your team because your team will see that you take these things seriously.”

We also spoke about competing priorities, balancing employee empathy and sympathy with the bottom-line need to get the job done to create a healing patient environment. 

“My communication style is blunt and direct. I also work to cultivate empathy. With burnout today, we need to be on guard about that, and I tell my team, the reason I exist is to help you do your jobs.  If my team is under duress and I turn away and pretend I don’t see it, more than likely I am going to do more harm than good (to my team).”

My thanks to Jason for an honest discussion. If you are feeling a bit down and out, skip to The Power of Redemption section (25:00) for some hope and inspiration.  Other topics include:

  • About relationships, communication, and multi-generational leadership  (4:00);
  • Utilizing the Socratic method of FM leadership (19:00);
  • The Power of Redemption (25:00);
  • Finding a path to hospital leadership and a true vocation (40:00);
  • On managing conflict in 2021, and learning from Abraham Lincoln (52:00).

It is a great listen, download and subscribe here:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/high-reliability-healthcare-facilities-management-podcast/id1508513507?uo=4