In the U.S., people are generally brought up to admire competitiveness and personal drive. You get ahead in work, in life, or any place else by being aggressive and working hard. In pursuing a career, many people are focused not only on what they have to do today, but on their next step, the next opportunity.
The result is a self-centered approach to business. That’s problematic even in most business, where you’re expected to put attention on the needs and interests of customers as well as that of the business. In an industry like healthcare where proper focus on patients can literally mean the difference between life and death, being turned in on yourself is an even bigger problem.
The good news for those interested in management and administration in healthcare is that flipping the focus, turning your attention away from yourself, can be good not only for medicine but for careers as well.
A great example, according to leadership coach Jeff Belsky, is nursing, where high turnover is expensive, as replacing a nurse can easily run $42,000 to $64,000. A large reason for the loss of nurses is management’s failure to develop teamwork, balance workloads, and increase staff engagement, and nurse dissatisfaction has a high correlation with patient dissatisfaction. What is necessary is “servant leadership.”
Servant leadership takes place when leaders serve their fellow workers. Servant leaders develop people and help them flourish. Some authors of servant leadership state that leaders should “love” their subordinates, peers and superiors, as well as their competitors, a notion not normally thought to be present in today’s competitively driven business world — however, the philosophy has successfully been implemented in numerous large corporations throughout the United States.
Basically, servant leaders show concern for others and put the needs and interests of others first.
Some of the competencies needed in today’s healthcare leaders include emotional intelligence, superior communications skills, and the ability to help people through increased complexity and uncertainty. And these traits are exactly what one might expect in people who know how to offer servant leadership.
The irony is that by turning outward, focusing on others, and providing service, leaders give themselves a great gift. Their actions make them more effective, which only increases their value to any organization. The success they can demonstrate through their work history becomes a showcase of reasons why they deserve the next career. Doing well for others can be a boon for yourself.
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.