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The A-Team Or The B-Team ‒ Where Are We In America?

Written by: Linda Watkins, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Recently, I was in a local, highly-rated hospital for a serious surgery – meaning I was an in-patient. Pre-op was wonderful, proficient, cheerful. They didn’t miss a beat. Even when I entered the surgery floor for the few days of recovery, the nurse was amazing, caring, again proficient.

The positive experience ended there with her.

My many years of expertise is in organizations and leadership. I kept trying to think of what was wrong with what I was experiencing as the next day came and went. It is as if the workings of the floor was off a notch and just didn’t align. Nothing meshed!

Since I had to have help with everything due to technology attachments, it required calling the nurse’s station every time. The calls were answered by staff who raced into the room, helped, and raced out. First, I assumed they were understaffed due to COVID, but everyone assured me that wasn’t the case. The trash was emptied once a day, but no one actually cleaned the room, mopped the floors or cleaned the bathroom. Everyone seemed to be on the run.

Nurses, nursing assistants, therapists – were polite. But no one listened or certainly heard me when I kept saying I needed my regular medications, or that I couldn’t take one of the medications I was being given. This all created a 1:30 AM crisis of trying to find a doctor to prescribe something different.

And so, it went until I was released to go home with great relief and the awareness that what was missing on that hospital floor was coherent leadership, be it for policies, people, the strange non-balance between nurse and doctor, or the disjointed American culture of today.

David Gergen, White House adviser to four presidents, is doing book tour interviews for his new book on leadership called Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders are Made. He’s noted that our current administration is stumbling, but also that we have moved beyond the “great man” model of leadership in the past to one that calls for great team leadership.

I know that Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that developed the COVID vaccine, had a great team and team leadership to be able to get a COVID vaccine seamlessly from pandemic idea into people’s arms around the world in 366 days. This is proof that it’s possible to handle very complex issues with highly functioning teams and good leadership. We just seem to stumble in getting A-teams in charge of complex problems.

Whether it is the federal administration and White House, Congress, my hospital experience, your local county health department’s COVID response or getting our organizations to be more human-centered, it seems we are inundated with B-teams. They’re often comprised of nice enough people who just don’t get the job done! The missing link appears to be leadership.

Some characteristics of A-teams that seem to be commonly accepted are strong leadership, clear goals, open communication and collaboration, trust and clear purpose.

So where are our A-teams and how do we get more of them on the field?

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Linda!


Linda Watkins, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Linda Watkins PhD is an executive and leadership coach with decades of experience helping leaders achieve personal and professional growth, including in new, creative and future-oriented areas. She helps clients embody their leadership and become authentic, grounded and future-ready. Many find her work transformational. Linda's passion for helping leaders thrive by developing new skills and capabilities has only grown as the world has become more complex. She and her company, Leadership for Today, are strong advocates for women and have been designing events that empower women for over 30 years.



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