The Hospital CEO Dilemma: Abandon Ship or Change Leadership Style

 Hospital CEOs who adapt their leadership style to reflect the benefits of crowd-sourcing solutions to problems and take a patient-centric approach will be the ones who succeed.

According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, CEO turnover is at an all-time high in hospitals across America, growing to 20 percent in 2013. The reasons are predictable ShirleyEngelmeierconsidering the amount of change underway due to the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act and consolidation within the industry. Although some leadership turnover is imminent in any industry, hospital CEOs who adapt their leadership style to reflect the benefits of crowd-sourcing solutions to problems and take a patient-centric approach will be the ones who succeed.

Most current leadership models are hierarchical and date back to the industrial revolution. They've dominated organizational management for well over 100 years. It's an approach that suggests title is king (or queen) and an iron fist rules. The problem for senior healthcare executives is that this model suggests knowledge is concentrated in the corner office. This is hardly the case in healthcare facilities.  

To be the most effective leader in today's changing healthcare landscape, executives must commit to letting go of top-down tendencies and become inclusive — a leader who seeks and integrates input from all key stakeholders. Inclusive leaders listen and learn from others (employees and patients) and leverage the wider portfolio of insights and input.

Becoming an inclusive leader is no easy feat and requires the courage and determination to embrace and practice a new set of skills. The most effective include leaders who:

•    Put their ego in check
•    Are open to a wide range of inputs
•    Are intellectually curious
•    Are transparent, accessible and adaptable
•    Have high emotional intelligence
•    Display humility
•    Are culturally agile
•    Collaborate with their teams
•    Seek out diversity of thought

There couldn't be a more appropriate time to adopt the traits, behaviors and tools of inclusive leadership within healthcare organizations. The new patient-centric care model will require a broader set of eyes, ears and brainpower to solve the increasingly complex care and business challenges that hospital CEOs must master.

Shirley Engelmeier is the Founder and CEO of InclusionINC and author of "Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage" (2012) and "Becoming an Inclusive Leader" (2014). For over two decades, she has advised organizations on creating inclusive, high performance leaders and enterprises. Prior to founding InclusionINC, Ms. Engelmeier held senior management positions at Brown & Williamson and Frito-Lay. She is a pioneer around creating inclusive workplace initiatives that improve business results through higher employee engagement, productivity and innovation.

 

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