The next class of hospital execs: 3 notes on mentoring

Building teams, securing high performance measures and staying laser-focused on care missions are among the countless duties required of healthcare leaders today.

During a panel session titled "Creating Healthcare Leaders" at the Becker's Hospital Review 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable in Chicago in November, four healthcare leaders discussed what mentors can do to encourage leadership and develop the next class of hospital executives.

The four panelists were:

  • Kate Henderson, regional hospital president at Ascension Texas in Austin 
  • Emmett Schuster, former interim CEO of Willapa Harbor Hospital in South Bend, Wash.
  • Peter Banko, CEO of Centura Health in Centennial, Colo.
  • Ed Sabanegh, MD, president of the main campus and regional hospitals for Cleveland Clinic

Here are three takeaways from their discussion:

1. Solo is a no-go. It's not possible for one person to lead an entire organization. Leaders need to realize they're a part of a whole, and are tasked with making that team as inclusive as possible. Differences of opinion will arise, but team leaders must be able to create a safe environment to wrestle those hard problems.

2. The point of leadership is to create more leaders, not more followers. Mentors should want to develop others into leaders, not their followers. The panelists said it's key that today's healthcare leaders don't feel encroached upon or threatened when other leaders start to come into their own, but rather give them space and support.

3. Learn where people want to go and why. Many of the panelists spoke about picking up on uncommon energy or a "glimmering in the eye" of someone who has the potential to be a standout leader. While it's unrealistic to connect individually with all up-and-comers, the panelists advised trying to learn where that up-and-comer wants to go and why. If you can't mentor them, ask yourself if there is someone else in your organization who could.

More articles on leadership:
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10 hospitals hiring VPs

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