6 healthcare executives on the evolution of their leadership style

Becker's Hospital Review asked healthcare executives to share how their leadership style evolved over the years. Read about their leadership styles below, in their own words.

David Flicek
President and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

"As my career has progressed, a certain level of steadiness has become more apparent when I am faced with obstacles and challenges. With my team, I encourage careful discernment and seeking other viewpoints in order to obtain a more robust direction and alignment with the decision at hand."

Terry Hudson-Jinks, MSN, RN
Interim Co-CEO and Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services at Tufts Medical Center (Boston)

"For the past 33 years I have been fortunate to do what I love: care for patients and their families. While my responsibilities have grown over time, I try to always lead with the passion that attracted me to this work, knowing that passion can often inspire. I've learned that reflecting on the 'why' in day-to-day events, even when it's hard, is the key to personal and professional growth. I also choose to look at the positive and how to make it even better. Instead of focusing on what is 'broken,' why not shine a light on what is working and then ask, 'What's missing?' Leading from this perspective can create an environment that builds confidence, allows imagination and innovation, and brings out the best in everyone."

Kelly Linden
Chief Executive of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center (Burbank, Calif.)

"Like most healthcare leaders, my day is filled with meetings, phone calls, reports, decisions and quick responses to immediate needs — all the factors we leaders have learned while studying business, finance and strategy. But it's the intangibles I've learned over my 25-year healthcare career that have continued to shape my role as a servant leader, a role I'm certain will continue to evolve through my career.

"My leadership style is a reflection of those I lead — their talents, their values, their drive to provide the best possible care and their innovative ideas for continued improvement upon excellence. Intimately understanding the role each of our caregivers plays in our ministry enhances my ability to lead effectively in a mission-inspired setting. That, coupled with knowing the community we serve, brings reality to the difficult decisions and the depth necessary in strategic planning. Presence and connection truly are the essence of effective leadership."

Steve Roach
President and CEO of UMass Memorial-Marlborough (Mass.) Hospital

"Early in my career, I used to follow the adage that I could get anything done myself. … That was in my early 30s as a CEO, and I've learned a lot over the last 10 to 15 years — that if you hire the right people and you have the right team, use them. They're smarter than I am. They have the ability to challenge my thinking so that we get a better answer and a better solution. It's much more effective to climb the mountain than to go around the mountain.

"As your career progresses, your personality and your approach changes. I was much more aggressive and assertive in my younger years, and as I've worked more and more with different types of teams and different types of individuals. I've seen much more opportunity to go at problems and to go at challenges and the environment that we face in many different ways. There's not just one solution to each issue. There are many solutions. Not all of them are correct at the right time, but you have to … pick one and try it and if it fails, have the ability to pull away from it and get some additional insight from your team or from some other individuals who've gone through it to get a better answer and a better approach."

Ann Taylor, JD
Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Connecticut Children's Medical Center (Hartford)

"As I have become more comfortable in the role of a leader, my style has grown from one with a narrower focus of getting the work done to a broader, big-picture view. I see myself as a convener, making others more comfortable when there may be tension in a room by bringing into focus the real reason for the work we are doing. In alleviating some of the stress, we are often able to inspire one another, performing at a much higher level and enjoying our work."

Julie Taylor, MSN, RN
CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital (Anchorage)

"I am far more purposeful in my efforts to develop leaders in my organization who are motivated by the right 'why,' and who have the emotional capacity to lead with that conviction. We need leaders who can create a followership if we want to move forward effectively. In my experience, leaders who lack in those capacities end up struggling."


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