There come times in any endeavor when the leadership traits once prized are supplanted by another set that can better address change. That is currently the case in the healthcare industry, and hospitals in particular, according to specialty recruitment firm Cejka Search.
For the last decade, industry leaders had a well-defined set of problems they needed to address. Organizations needed greater efficiency, which meant a premium on restructuring. Cutbacks in federal funding drove the need to reduce budgets and find alternative sources of revenue to maintain levels of service. With the Affordable Care Act, changes in practice, demographic shifts, and pressure on corporations and private health care, things have changed, to put it mildly. Financial and operational expertise is still in demand, but so are other skills that hospitals see as necessary going forward.
Tomorrow’s most successful healthcare organizations will be those that are now identifying existing managers with the strongest potential to develop these broad leadership skills. The next step is to develop those individuals into effective senior executives.
Below are the four major leadership skill areas that Cejka finds are in strong demand:
- Technology understanding and management -Technology continues to make deep inroads into healthcare. Clinical practice systems, pharmaceutical dispensing, specialized practice applications, and electronic medical/healthcare records are just a few areas where computer and network systems are important. Leaders must be able to make informed decisions about these systems and remain abreast of the latest developments.
- Clinical connectivity – Executives, especially those from a non-medical background, will have to build relationships with clinical management to understand their concerns and needs, incorporating the views of physicians, nurses, and other professionals. Leaders will also need to help those professionals understand the business issues that drive so many decisions.
- Leading diverse teams – Diversity has its usual connotations of gender, race, culture, creed, and sexual orientation. In addition, hospital leadership must bring together people from vastly different working and professional backgrounds and communicate effectively with them. Gaining a wider perspective has never been so important, whether to bolster innovation or better understand a hospital’s patient base.
- Innovative thinking and problem-solving – The future of healthcare belongs to the organizations that can navigate the rapids of change and come out dry on the other side. Almost by definition that will mean finding ideas and solutions to problems that haven’t been seen before. Leaders cannot do all that by themselves, as the new concepts and approaches to business will need heavy collaboration. What the executives can do, however, is to set a direction and then encourage and foster innovation, critical thinking, and new approaches to problems.
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.