Healthcare leaders: 4 traits for managerial, personal success

Executive looking out window
Leaders may be made, not born, after all, according to a new blog post. (Getty/Tom Merton)

Effective healthcare leaders are constantly evolving their approach to leadership, molding their style and learning on the job.

Leaders that are most inspirational often embody a mix of both a competent managerial style and certain personal traits, which makes them easy to follow, wrote Sumita Khatri, M.D., a critical care physician with the Cleveland Clinic, and Lisa Mencini, senior associate dean and chief of staff for Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, in a blog post for NEJM Catalyst.

“Professional friends and colleagues want to continually learn and develop; they seek to raise confidence in their individuality and abilities, and they aspire to be effective in inspiring others,” they wrote. “From such small ripples, larger waves will form.”

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The pair listed several key qualities that are essential managerial or personal characteristics for developing leaders, including:

  1. Articulate ideas with a clear vision. Effective leaders must also hear and respect disagreements on these plans, and be willing to resolve them fairly.
  2. Support and mentor others. Leaders should help cultivate growth opportunities for other members of their team, and support them in those endeavors.
  3. Acknowledge failure. Leaders should hold strong in tough situations, but be open and frank when plans don’t work out.
  4. Actively praise team members. Give credit where credit is due, according to the blog, and acknowledge ideas that are successful. Encourage individuality in a team to cultivate creativity.

Health professionals also need to pay more attention to developing leaders in their organizations, according to the blog, and what skills effective leaders have and need. Having regular waves of fresh leadership can boost organizations.

Grooming leaders from within offers an effective solution for filling open positions in the C-suite amid frequent CEO and executive turnover in the industry. In addition to the traits outlined by Khatri and Mencini, strong healthcare leaders keep a cool head in stressful situations and take a “solutions-oriented” approach to problems, as FierceHealthcare has previously reported.