Talk less, listen more, Garnet Health CEO advises

Jerry Dunlavey, interim president and CEO of Garnet Health in Middletown, N.Y., spoke with Becker's about his favorite piece of advice — the one thing all hospital leaders should do every day to build the kind of strong relationships that are the foundation of personal and professional success.

"Always listen. Listen to your staff and your family members, to your colleagues and peers, and perhaps, most importantly, to your patients and their families," Mr. Dunlavey said. 

He acknowledged that hospital leaders tend to think they may be the smartest person in the room. "As leaders, we always have a lot to say or we're thinking about our response before the person we're talking to has finished their thought," he said. "When we stop and actively listen, we have a much better understanding of the message and the emotion behind the message that is being conveyed."

Being a better listener gives leaders the ability to hear new ideas and better positions them to do their jobs — not only in setting policies but also learning how to adjust as necessary. 

"Active listening is not something to practice when there are issues and challenges. It's just as important to actively listen to positive messages, too," Mr. Dunlavey said, noting "listening helps to build relationships, at home and in the workplace." 

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