Why Organizational Leadership is Plural, Not Singular

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Group of blue stick figures surrounding a small table with red leader standing up on itRoughly 100 percent of all physician offices are busy places. But you only have to look at the monthly statement to know that activity isn’t the same as productivity…or profitability.

Regardless of the size or type of the healthcare entity—from practitioner to medical group—a revealing characteristic of success is a reflection of leadership in the organization.

In the “old school” physician-centric structure, the presence and personality of the doctor dominated the organization. By design or by tradition, many times there was one “big boss” and everyone else was a “worker bee.”

Contrast that with the empowered organization where leadership and responsibility are present throughout the org chart. And when leadership qualities are plural (and not singular), an collection of good individuals transforms into a highly successful team. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. People express a brand of excellence. Effectiveness and efficiency are multiplied and magnified.

Essential Leadership Qualities…

Check yourself, and each member of the team, for these essentials.  When leadership qualities prevail top to bottom, the organization has greater strength and value, it functions more smoothly, and individuals gain more personal and professional job satisfaction.

Hire for it. Train for it. Encourage it. Empower and inspire leadership at every level as a role model, leading by example. A few indispensable leadership characteristics include:

Ability to Communicate: Surprise; other people do not know what’s in your brain. Leaders know what they know, but team members and colleagues are not mind readers. Although you think and feel and act constantly on an awareness of your “big picture” vision, it takes considerable effort and regular practice to communicate. From grand goals to process steps, people want to do a good job and they want to please. A team needs to clearly understand what is expected of them in order for all to be in sync with the goals and objectives.

Enthusiasm, Energy and Commitment: There’s a contagious quality in having and exhibiting a drive for success. Long and stressful hours of work are physically tiring, but an overarching belief in positive achievement—however defined for patients, staff, and colleagues—ignites the same in others and becomes the fabric of the office culture.

Delegation and Trust: To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, the best executive has the sense to pick good people for what needs to be done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. By definition and necessity, leaders must delegate, not do, some things, and help others achieve the desired results.

The textbooks and training courses list dozens of other essential leadership skills. To name a few, there’s:

  • Honesty and Honor
  • Being Prepared and Orgnized
  • Charisma and People Skills
  • Creativity and Flexibility
  • Having a Sense of Humor
  • Confidence and Positive Attitude

We’d like to hear from you on this. What is the single most important business leadership trait or personal attribute that you would put at the top of this list? What would improve your team the most? What’s required to move your organization from “good” to “great?”

A few individuals are natural, born leaders. Some people are not well suited for the task at all. But many people, perhaps most, will respond to training, grow and improve with practice and draw inspiration from others around them in the organization.

Tell us what you think. And for related reading, see our previous posts, Recognizing a Bad Strategy: Lessons in Leadership for Healthcare Marketing Strategists and 13 Traits of Highly Successful Healthcare Business Leaders.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

 

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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