Healthcare in crisis – 4 leadership hacks for challenging times

Healthcare is in a state of turmoil. The need for a definitive commitment to data-driven action and a longer-term, investment-oriented perspective is more urgent than ever.

The Amazon-JP Morgan-Berkshire Hathaway announcement shows us that creativity and passion in healthcare are alive and well. Combined with a persistent pursuit for solutions, there is much promise to make (1) higher quality, (2) medically appropriate, (3) cost-effective, (4) person-centered holistic care a reality – without burning out clinicians!

Consider these 4 leadership hacks to help your organization overcome the challenges to be faced in 2018 and beyond.

1. Stand Up and Lead

Seems odd that a leadership hack is to “stand up and lead,” but how often do we actually experience and provide true leadership? Everyone can be a leader regardless of their level within the organizational hierarchy. Several attributes have been identified as skills and behaviors known to drive results and high-performance teams. Here are several of them:

Strive for skilled communication: Engaging your team by communicating with clarity is just as important as listening actively and attentively. Cultivate awareness of both verbal and non-verbal cues. Build trust, encourage curiosity, and create a collegial environment where everyone feels heard.

Believe in your team: Provide support and resources to enable the best work, nurture potential, while being willing to let go. Truly delegate. Make it be ok to make mistakes.

Be flexible and dig in: Seek feedback and be willing to change as well as get down in the trenches to stay in touch with what’s really going on. Foster accountability by delivering on your own commitments.

Inspire to innovate: Adopt “we can make it happen” as your guiding philosophy.

How many of these are you demonstrating? How much time do you spend developing areas which represent gap opportunities for you? Being a true leader takes courage, high emotional intelligence, a collaborative spirit, transparency, proactive and anticipatory planning, and demonstrating your support – especially when times are hard. 

2. Take a Selfie

Take a look at yourself. Do you recognize who you see? Is your essence still intact? Do you feel comfortable in your own skin at work and in your personal life? Do you feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment? Are you taking care of yourself and devoting time to your health and well-being so you are best positioned to achieve goals that are important to you? Taking the time to make sure you’re grounded serves as a bulwark in a storm.

3. Diversify Your Portfolio

A recent article by Furst Group emphasizes “diverse teams are more innovative, and companies that are inclusive and reflect diversity in their leadership are better run, more profitable, and value employees more. These companies rely more on facts when making decisions, make fewer errors when dealing with those facts, and are more careful and deliberate in their decisions.”

Are you purposeful about surrounding yourself and about interacting with colleagues in a manner which will help ensure diversity of experience, opinion, expertise, work styles, generations, and cultures? Do you challenge yourself by including those who don’t look or think like you in work teams? Challenge yourself by creating opportunities to learn and grow by working outside your comfort zone.

4. Nurture the “IT” Factor – Human Connection

Despite the myriad advances in medicine and science, and now the burgeoning area of AI, human connection still remains the “it” factor for real organizational impact. This applies to many areas of innovation: deploying technology, harnessing data to glean actionable insights, driving successful interventions, sustaining treatment response rates, and to overall effective care delivery redesign. Leverage these tools with a goal of producing both human-centered experiences and meaningful health and well-being outcomes, with a laser-focus on the people for which the solutions are being designed in the first place.

Now, as you determine which of these leadership hacks will be helpful to you, I leave you with the words below.

Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.

~ Harold Geenen

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