• Tara Humphrey

How to manage different working styles

Updated: May 18, 2021

As a PCN Manager, its part and parcel of the job to bend and flex to different working styles. Having supporting 13 Primary Care Networks, some Clinical Directors and practice managers like to be involved in every element of the workstreams, others I barely see, trusting me to get on with it.

It’s a challenge, but once I get to know all of their different communication styles, their motivations for the network, difficulties they have had in the past, how they like information presented to them and what they truly want from me, this is where we start to see positive results.

However, I would not be telling the truth if I didn’t share that sometimes this has been difficult, especially now during uncertain and disrupted times. I am having to constantly adapt as I navigate around multiple practices and stakeholders.

Having discussed this with some peers who are not strangers to this situation; together we recommend the following:

1. Review, Reflect and then Act

It’s usually obvious when things aren’t working well, and communication feels strained.

Quickly call a meeting, raise the issues and be prepared to act on the feedback.

If you are reading this, I’m guessing you’re a new PCN Manager or tasked with a challenging project. You have the skills and experience, but your confidence may be knocked, mistakes are being made and it's difficult to know what to do for the best.

In preparation for and after your meeting, review the situation, reflect on your role, your communication style and what you need to deliver the project, the brief and context and then act on what improvements can be made.

2. Start Fresh

Now you have gotten the most difficult part out of the way (acknowledging and addressing the issues), start fresh and move forward. You have work to do and people are counting on you.

In most cases, it’s a simple misunderstanding or clash of personalities but you are a professional and good at your job. Start fresh, be positive and let’s continue 😊 (if you want to.)

Ask Questions

A lot of misunderstandings occur when we are frightened to ask questions, but it’s your job to clarify the next steps of the project. It is the simplest, most effective and most essential aspect required to progress your initiative.

Lastly, when it’s taking you a little longer to find your groove, remember to;

  • Just be you

  • Relax

  • Adopt a positive and can-do attitude

  • Try not to take things personally and jump to conclusions about what others may think

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Tara Humphrey is the founder of THC Primary Care, a leading healthcare consultancy specialising in workforce transformation and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast.

Tara and her team also work with GP federations supporting the implementation of clinical services.

Tara has over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sector and has an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care and is the author of over 150 blogs.