Clinical officers, medical staff and also humanitarian workers now operate in an increasingly challenging environment. They have to face complex cases and emergencies with the additional multiplicity of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, polio or Ebola outbreaks in African continent. There is also a higher frequency of social or natural disasters (Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, DRC etc.). It’s leading into more complicated work with increasing numbers of vulnerable people. All these extra challenges and demands require the ability to work in mixed/changing teams and difficult contexts. Support mechanisms (mentoring/coaching and on-going personal development training) will help managers, medical staff or field workers deal with the pressure. But what kind of thoughts does influence their behaviors and what does drive particular performances?
Motivation can be divided into two types: internal and external. Intrinsic motivation is driven by an interest in the task itself and exists within the individual. For example: medical staff or field workers are likely to be internally motivated if they believe they have the skills to be effective experts in reaching their desired goals. It is enough for them to enjoy the work and to see the successful/positive results of their action: the fight against child mortality and malnutrition in particular region (Kenyan coast). There are no external pressures or desires for reward.
On the other hand extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the health worker. The performance of an activity must attain an outcome. Rewards (earned money or promotion at work/chosen career) are important. External motivation can vary greatly in the degree to which it’s autonomous. If the hospital’s employee does his work only because he/she fears manager’s sanctions for not doing it properly – is the example of extrinsic motivation (attaining the separable outcome of avoiding sanctions).
Healthcare leadership competencies summarise the skills and behaviours required to perform effectively in a given task: procedure, treatment or medical research. It’s important to understand both motivations of health workers and develop or just adjust the leadership training for them. If higher salary or positive feedback in public/in front of co-workers works for somebody – let’s give it to him.
Emotional intelligence is needed in all processes: employers-employees, doctors-patients; and there is always time for personal development, communication and active listening in order to gain more EQ and use it wisely in the field.
Written by: Bozena Baluchova