Healthcare leaders need humility and compassion to succeed

Increasingly, top executives find that they lead most effectively from a position of humility and a willingness to listen to the needs and opinions of others, according to an article from the Wall Street Journal

Humility "is the flavor du jour," Fred Hassan, a former CEO of Schering-Plough Corp., told the WSJ. Furthermore, the "servant model" of leadership promotes better communication among employees and executives and promotes a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, added Dale E. Jones, a corporate recruiter.

But there's a catch to all this humility and sincerity business as a CEO: You have to mean it, said Harvard Business Professor Francesca Gino, adding that people react negatively to faux-humility. People can spot a phony in the workplace, and increasingly higher-ups are wary of employees who grandstand at their coworkers' expense.  

Leadership requires an ability to share credit, blame and a willingness to let others shine. A humble leader listens to what subordinates say and accepts responsibility when things go wrong. 

While humility is becoming more recognized as a key trait in a healthcare leader, it's got to complement a high-level skill set. As FierceHealthcare previously reported, the most successful healthcare CEOs are those who embrace change, who work systematically across departmental "turf" lines in institutions and who pursue a data-centric approach to care, constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the patient experience and acting on the results.

Moreover, recent studies find that the most effective healthcare CEOs are those who are data-driven and have the analytical skills necessary to interpret data and adapt it to real world healthcare settings.

Executives have been slow to embrace change, however, even as the healthcare system rapidly evolves under the influence of governmental and market forces, hence the high level of turnover in C-suite jobs.

To learn more:
- read the article

Suggested Articles

Federal lawmakers are putting pressure on HHS to make big changes to forthcoming rules on data sharing and information blocking.

A House stopgap funding bill is expected to delay $4 billion in cuts to payments to safety-net hospitals set to go into effect this week.

The AMA took on some weighty social issues at its 2019 Interim Meeting Monday, including racial pay equity and LGBTQ health issues.