Maxim no. 6: “Leaders lead people; managers manage an asset, process or thing.”
Leadership Maxim No. 6 is one of my favorite maxims because it highlights two distinct, yet very important, skills that are essential to running an organization like Texas Children’s – leading and managing. With more than 14,000 employees across our system, it takes exceptional leaders and managers throughout every level of the organization to ensure we deliver the best care to our patients.
I spend most of my time leading people, but I also spend a lot of time managing our organization’s operations. People often ask me: What is the difference between leadership and management? I believe the primary difference between management and leadership is that leaders don’t need to be in a management position or have a specific title. Anyone can be a leader.
Alex Sardual is a great example of an outstanding leader and manager. Alex has been with us for a little over a year and is currently the assistant clinical director for the PICU in Legacy Tower. He leads a team of more than 200 employees, including patient care managers and unit-based nursing educators who oversee the day-to-day clinical operations of the PICU. He also manages the human resources, financial and administrative functions in the unit.
Alex has an outstanding leadership philosophy: a leader is someone who believes in and nurtures his or her team and helps them clear the path to success. These principles guide Alex as he cultivates a work environment that engages, encourages and empowers his team. He understands the personal goals of his staff and directs them to areas or projects that keep them challenged, engaged and aligned with our goals as an organization.
Alex believes that if you make sure your staff is acknowledged and they feel heard, they will be empowered to come up with creative solutions to resolve any work challenges that may arise. I completely agree with him.
When Alex prepared his team for the move to Legacy Tower, many members of his team were apprehensive about how everything would work and the planned cohorting of patients and teams. Alex made sure to engage his team and gave everyone an opportunity to provide their suggestions and feedback and then ensured their thoughts were included in the Legacy Tower PICU plans. He and his team replicated what worked well in the old environment and changed some things for a better fit in the new environment.
Throughout it all, Alex kept his team informed and updated and made sure to translate the concerns of his staff back to the leadership team. Alex says he sees himself as the guardian of positive thinking – some days it’s easy to show the bright side of things, and other times, you have to point out the silver lining. That’s perceptive leadership and solid management.
I’d like to hear from you … how do you balance leading and managing in your role?
Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!
Over the past few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog has been highlighting employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post poses a leadership question that Texas Children’s employees may respond to in the comments section until October 19.
Afterward, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 75 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.