4 key qualities of values-driven healthcare CEOs

Healthcare leaders with a strong, values-driven approach may have a better path to long-term organizational success.

Jack Gilbert, clinical associate professor, School for the Science of Health Care Delivery at Arizona State University, and Barbara Balik, R.N., a faculty member in ASU’s Fellowship in Healthcare Innovation Leadership, interviewed 10 CEOs and identified several personal and organizational values that each possessed, the pair wrote in a blog post for NEJM Catalyst.

The leaders came from a variety of backgrounds—some clinicians, some not—and represented both large and small health organizations. Those that participated saw across the board sustained, high-level performance in their facilities or systems, according to the post.

“Our study of transformational health leaders shows that it is possible to achieve both mission and margin, and avoid burnout, by focusing first on the personal and organizational values that fulfill the Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower cost,” they wrote. “While money is still part of the equation, these leaders keep it in its proper perspective.”

All of the CEOs studied shared these leadership traits, according to the blog:

  • Dedication to quality care. Gilbert and Balik also interviewed staff members working under the CEOs, and those conversations revealed that the leaders had clearly demonstrated a passion for quality care to those working for them.
  • A desire to keep learning. Values-driven leaders make time to reflect and are eager to continue expanding their knowledge, according to the blog. Staff members can see when these are priorities in their leadership.
  • Genuineness. Values-driven leaders don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk, Gilbert and Balik wrote. Be authentic and humble to set an example for employees to follow.
  • Obvious care for the team. Staff members should feel their leaders care about them and trust in them. The authors suggested that CEOs listen to what employees need and what they’re experiencing.