Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Vanishing Leadership behind Healthcare Reform - Why Emerging Leaders Must Play 3 Roles to Ensure Continued Progress

We are currently in the midst of tremendous changes in our health system here in America.  Just like any organization or group, change in health care comes from the top.  One of the biggest challenges facing the health system today is the soon to be disappearing leadership.  With a huge number of senior leaders edging closer to retirement, there will soon be a void of decision makers trying to reform a broken system.  The need for new emerging leaders is evident, but how can they continue the work?  Driving positive health care change will require new leaders that will ensure they can make an impact on those they lead, the organizations they support, and the patients and families they serve.

When was the last time you looked in the mirror?  Did you stand there and ponder how other people see you in the world?  Most of us at some point in our lives stand in front of that mirror, and look at the image of our life wondering the same thing.  Have we done enough, been enough, or pursued enough?  How much more important is this action for those people who lead organizations or have the ability to affect others lives.  Learning to lead can be a daunting task that may not come naturally to some, but these emerging leaders can be successful when they learn to function in 3 specific leadership roles that can deliver dramatic results.  

  • Be a Custodian - Where would we be without that dedicated force that ensures that the person or building receives the best care?  Can you imagine what it would look like without the involvement of a custodian who humbly does their job with little gratitude.  To be a successful as a Custodian a leader must have two defining traits:
    • Confidence - When you do a job that others may not value or appreciate you have to be confident in who you are, and the mission that you're trying to support.
    • Consistency - Secondly, to ensure the support of those you lead requires creating a consistent presence that acts proactively, plans for challenges, and provides a calming presence in times of change.
  • Be a Curator - According to the dictionary this is someone who cares for a museum.  What is in a museum?  Things of great value.  Therefore, an emerging leader needs to learn that they've been put in a position to oversee the valuable commodity of the team they lead.  Success as a curator requires two characteristics:

    • Caring - As a leader you must care for those valuable people who've been entrusted to you.  Your role is to help them see their potential, and stay encouraged about carrying out the mission of the organization.  In the case of health care, it is the patients and families that are the recipients of our care.
    • Collaborative - No man is an island, and new leaders need to be taught that without their team nothing will get accomplished.  Therefore, it's vital to tap into this valuable resource, and collaborate to ensure the best outcomes for those you serve.

  • Be a Counselor - The final role each leader needs to play to ensure they make an impact is a Counselor. What is it that a counselor does?  Their title speaks to one of their functions of guiding people to achieve personal success in their lives, but successful counselors also act by using two other actions:
    • Challenge - A seasoned counselor challenges their clients or those in their care to be better people.  They ask the hard questions, they say the tough things people need to hear, and they're dedicated to seeing that person reaches their potential.

    • Compassion - Success as a leader can only occur when the people you lead believe in your sincerity, and that you have their best interest at heart.  Being a compassionate leader means understanding that life and people are not perfect, and it means giving others the benefit of the doubt until they cause you to change your mind.

With so much work ahead of us in creating a health system that provides for the needs of the many, we need to ensure that we have leaders who won't falter when times become challenging.  When these emerging people learn to become the Custodians of our care, the Curators of collaborative innovation, and Counselors led by a compassion then we can be confident that we'll have a new generation of prepared leaders.  They will be able to look back at the image in the mirror, and prove they are enough to continue the good work.

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Thanks for visiting. I would love to hear your thoughts. Take care, Dave.