Healthcare is a 'team sport;' leaders must be in it to win it, says 1 Missouri hospital leader

When you watch a game on television, it may look like the coaches are pacing up and down the field — on the sidelines. However, the coach is always the point person — the one players are looking to for advice and ultimate decisive action. 

Hospital leaders are head coaches of their various divisions. They may spend a considerable amount of time in meetings and managing the business of the healthcare system, but to be a truly effective, connected member of the hospital's C-suite, leaders must be willing to remove obstacles so the frontline team can do what it does best — provide excellent care for patients. 

As part of an initiative to give hospital leaders a platform to share opinions and advice on a variety of topics, Becker's spoke with Rob Steele, MD, executive vice president and chief strategy and innovation officer at Children's Mercy Kansas City in Missouri.

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Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Question: What skills are needed to turn a good hospital leader into a great hospital leader?  

Dr. Rob Steele: As leaders, we must do all we can to facilitate the success of others and give them the opportunities to bring their ideas to light. To role model that behavior, we should seek to initiate conversations with positive intent and empower our people to be innovative. 

Effective leaders remove obstacles that keep the people on the frontlines from doing their best possible work. Healthcare is a team sport, and no one can operate as an island — no matter what their position or role. We are part of a bigger mission, and we all have a responsibility to contribute to that mission, as part of a team and as part of our larger organization.

Q: What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? 

RS: Everyone has an area of expertise and a contribution to make, regardless of their role and sphere of influence. Take the opportunity to be the CEO of your own world.

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