The difference between a boss and a 'superboss' in healthcare

The healthcare field is undergoing some of the most sweeping changes it has encountered since the 19th century adoption of germ theory and the discovery of surgical anesthesia. What type of executive administrators are most needed by hospitals and healthcare institutions in these tumultuous times?

The main trait shared by so-called "superbosses" is that all of them--from designer Ralph Lauren to superstar director and producer George Lucas to makeup and home sales mogul Mary Kay Ash--have spent their careers fostering new talent, according to the Harvard Business Review.

"I found that superbosses share a number of key personality traits," wrote author and Dartmouth University professor Sydney Finkelstein. "They tend to be extremely confident, competitive and imaginative. They also act with integrity and aren't afraid to let their authentic selves shine through."

Finkelstein's book, "Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent," said that these dynamic leaders seek out gifted individuals to hire, then groom them for success. "Focus on unconventional hiring," said the HBR essay. "Focus on intelligence, creativity and flexibility."

Be prepared for turnover, Finkelstein said. Bosses and CEOs are grooming the people they hire to work within their organization, but superbosses understand that they are setting their protégés up for a successful future.

Hospital and healthcare CEOs are in a unique position to drive change. Therefore, healthcare leaders should be prepared to hire individuals from other fields like the financial sector, technological firms or information management.

Successful healthcare CEOs must also embrace change, have clinical competence, use data-driven strategies, be agile managers of personnel and all the while, they must keep their eye on the bottom line. 

"The CEO of the future will be someone who understands the continuum of care, from inpatient to physician offices to ancillary services to home health, pharmacy and nursing homes, and is capable of bundling it all around providing excellent service at reduced cost," said Tom Giella, managing director of healthcare services for the Chicago branch of executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Harvard Business Review article