'Hire for attitude, train for skills,' says 1 COO on taking hospital teams to the next level

If you've made your way to the C-suite in a hospital, it might be easy to think you simply need to focus on being the best leader you can be right now. And, while that's certainly true, effective leadership requires a willingness to keep learning and growing.

Further, being present and active in your day-to-day role is just as important as keeping an eye on the future and being willing to adopt new initiatives that will help take your hospital to the next level of care.

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 Larisa Goganzer, MSN, RN, COO of  AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, N.J.

(If you would like to  share your insight and be featured in this Q&A series, please send an email to bari@beckershealthcare.com.)

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

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

Larisa Goganzer: Hire for attitude, train for skills, and empower and trust your team by delegating to give them opportunities to learn and grow. Most of all, be yourself.

Q: Aside from the qualified worker shortage, what is the biggest challenge facing hospital leaders today? 

LG: Engaging stakeholders — including providers, payers, policymakers, vendors, employers, individual patients/clients and others — in developing solutions for complex issues and opportunities. These issues impact the health and well-being of individuals, the community and society overall and are key for healthcare leaders. 

For example, the rapidly evolving digital transformations of healthcare is one of the most pressing factors that impact care. Creating seamless, patient-centered healthcare experiences for those giving and getting care — wherever the patient is — should be a shared goal. 

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

LG: Great hospital leaders are skilled in being active listeners and effective communicators, as well as strategic thinkers, tactical planners, innovative problem-solvers, and trusted relationship builders.

To successfully carry out these skills, it's essential the leader has emotional intelligence, is empathetic, respectful, collaborative and honest. 

Being a great leader is not finite. Great leaders continually seek new opportunities to define our ever-evolving healthcare industry and then leverage those opportunities to enhance the ways their hospital supports its providers, staff and the communities it serves.

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