Principles and Traits for Leading Environmental Services Today

Successful leadership in healthcare environmental services requires constant vigilance, ongoing education, willingness to identify opportunities for improvement in ourselves first, and staff second. In that spirit I share 11 principles and 14 traits for leading in this ever changing environment.

The principles are:

  1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  2. Be technically and tactically proficient.
  3. Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates.
  4. Make sound and timely decisions.
  5. Set the example.
  6. Know your Staff and look out for their welfare.
  7. Keep your Staff informed.
  8. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
  9. Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and ac­complished.
  10. Train your Staff as a team.
  11. Employ your team in accordance with their capabilities.

The traits are:

  1. Dependability. The certainty of proper performance of duty.
  2. Bearing. Creating a favorable impression in carriage, appearance, and personal conduct at all times.
  3. Courage. The mental quality that recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables a man to proceed in the face of it with calmness and firmness.
  4. Decisiveness. Ability to make decisions promptly and to announce them in a clear forceful manner.
  5. Endurance. The mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to withstand fatigue, stress, and hardship.
  6. Enthusiasm. The display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duty
  7. Initiative. Taking action in the absence of concerns, complaints or direction from above.
  8. Integrity. Uprightness of character and soundness of moral principles; includes the qualities of truthfulness and honesty.
  9. Judgment. The ability to weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound judgments.
  10. Justice. Giving reward and punishment according to the merits of the case. The ability to administer a system of rewards and punishments impartially and consistently.
  11. Knowledge. Understanding of a science or an art. The range of one’s information, including professional knowledge and an understanding of your staff members.
  12. Tact. The ability to deal with others without creating offense.
  13. Unselfishness. Avoidance of providing for one’s own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.
  14. Loyalty. The quality of faithfulness to your community, hospital, to one’s seniors, subordinates, and peers.

Adapted from Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons From the Battlefield to the Boardroom by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

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