Leadership is a popular topic in MBA courses. But it is rarely an explicit subject in medical school. And yet, because of the nature of the healthcare industry, often managers are physicians who attended the latter, not the former. For that reason, leaders in healthcare organizations face both the challenges facing the industry and their own challenges.
According to recruiting firm Jordan Search Consultants, more than half the candidates they see have engaged a career coach to help them improve their grasp of the business side of the industry. As often true in leadership, the issue of whether a candidate has what an organization needs goes beyond the specific resume and educational background. Leaders must have a specific set of skills and characteristics. According to Jordan Search, while 20 percent of physician candidates they look at are interested in leadership positions, 10 percent or less have the right qualifications.
Here are the qualities they look for:
- Listening. Leaders can’t get good results by official fiat. Too many in an organization have the ability to slow or shut down change if they don’t believe in it. And getting someone to buy into a vision won’t happen if you can’t or won’t listen to what they have to say. Additionally, others often will have a better view of what changes might actually work and the operational problems the organization faces. Fail to listen and you fail to get the information you need.
- Connect. You have to work with others and, as importantly, get others to work together as well. Learning to connect people and help them build working relationships is important.
- Learn. The healthcare industry, technology, and regulation continue a swift pace of change. An effective leader can’t sit on what he or she has learned in the past and assume everything will work as it did before. When change is a constant, learning must be as well.
- Collaborate and Communicate. No strategy will work if others won’t buy into it. Any vision must be collaborative in nature, leaving room for what others can bring. The leader also has to communicate throughout all levels of the organization in a way to convince others to share their viewpoints.
- Inspire. In addition to collaboration and communication, the physician leader needs the ability to inspire others throughout the organization. That builds trust and a belief that the vision for the organization could actually work, which is necessary for success.
- Facilitator. Leaders succeed by helping those around them to succeed, not by micromanaging and claiming responsibility when things go well and indemnification when they don’t. The would-be physician leader should work on helping others succeed in their responsibilities.
Are you interested in finding a rewarding and lucrative healthcare career that fits your individual strengths and interests? Find out how education can help you adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of healthcare management degrees, including an MBA Healthcare and Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics.