Reprocessing Department Leadership: How Can You Mobilize Your Teams for Success?

All companies, organizations, sports teams, sterile processing departments and GI labs that strive for greatness have one thing in common: effective leadership.


Effective leaders deploy three common strategic tactics that mobilize their teams around their mission. Those tactics get their teams rowing in the same direction, so to speak. I’ve outlined them here to share a roadmap for achieving such success.


Develop and communicate vision 

1. Successful sterile processing department (SPD) managers must have a vision. Leaders that can step away from day-to-day tasks to share their vision tend to be the ones with the most effective and productive processing departments.


Managers get sucked back into the day-to-day operations of their departments due to limited resources and labor now more than ever. But the managers able to step away and prioritize developing and communicating their vision for the department are the ones that become highly accomplished leaders.


Set aside the time to establish your vision if you haven’t done so, and make it mission critical to share it with the team on a frequent basis.


Create a shared set of core values 

2. Good sterile processing department leaders create a winning and accountable culture. Steve Jobs coined it first as “Culture wins over strategy.” Managers must task themselves with creating and improving their department’s culture. A foundational component of department culture is establishing core values.


Creating a great culture that is honest, open, and accountable starts with a shared set of core values to which everyone is held accountable. Core values speak to the mission of the team and the desired behaviors that will help them navigate their responsibilities. Values are what every team is hired, fired, and coached to. Those core values must be integrated into everyday life including team huddles, department meetings, 1-on-1 meetings, and reviews.


Managers become effective leaders when they develop, reinforce, and hold their teams accountable to a shared set of core values.


Set personal and team goals 

3. Good sterile processing department managers have personal and team goals. Winning managers have set such goals that move the team toward the overall vision.


Sinai Reprocessing TeamLet’s try a football analogy.  The vision aspect could be winning the big rivalry game. The goals are small, achievable accomplishments toward the win. First downs, or a deep punt that puts the offense on its heels, and of course touchdowns and extra points, are important goals toward winning that rivalry game.


But let’s not forget running successful practice plans also helps accomplish game time goals and is equally important. A great example for sterile processing or GI labs that many of you dream of is updating, rehabbing, or building out a new department. Goals may start with data collection, time studies, gathering technician feedback, identifying, and documenting current safety challenges, and departmental inefficiencies.  All of this is important information to help you build a financial justification.


Yes, there is much more to it than that. But these are the three tactics that stood out the most to me in my 26 years’ experience working with sterile processing services (SPS).


It all begins with having a vision and making time to communicate that mission, establishing a shared set of core values to hold teams accountable, and setting personal and team goals.


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