Archive for August, 2010
Fifteen years ago, Hans Finzel wrote the above-titled book, and he finds it just as relevant today as then. A leadership expert, president and CEO of World-Venture, Mr. Finzel believes leaders continue to make the same mistakes, but he is excited about new, energetic leaders and hopes to mentor them along their journey. This week, we’re focusing on two of the ten mistakes he cites because, like Mr. Finzel, we feel there has never been a more important time for stellar leadership to learn from the mistakes of others than in our ever-changing healthcare milieu.
You may recognize this mother of all leadership hang-ups:
The Top-Down Attitude
One trait of these “leaders” is the “use of knowledge” or rather the lack thereof, to keep people in line and in their place! You may see it through:
- Abusive Authority
- Deplorable Delegation
- Lack of Listening
- Dictatorship in Decision Making
- Lack of Letting Go
- Egocentric Mannerisms
Barbara and I have encountered these individuals in many of the clinics we have managed and consulted within. Often physicians, these medical “leaders” are some of the most difficult because they siphon away a healthcare administrator’s energy to the point of obstructing more proactive work. In our healthcare and medical practice consulting world, they cause project delays as well as create poor morale among team members who need, and are ready to, get on with important improvement changes.
Putting Paperwork Before People-Work
We find that clinic managers, medical directors, directors or administrators are most frequently guilty of this leadership error. The valuable lesson they failed to learn is: you accomplish more working through and with people than narrowly focusing on an end product or timeline.
Recognize any of these tell-tale signs or attitudes of a Paper Pusher?
- “People are interruptions”
- “Listen poorly, if at all”
And why do they put Paperwork first?
- Observed results take priority over unseen relationships
- Feel they are judged by what they do, not by who they are
- Relationships don’t fit their deadline mentality
Our experience has taught us that people who do the work usually know best the areas that don’t work well. They also know what needs improvement, but often are ignored. Too frequently, we hear: “I’ve been telling them (leadership) that, but they don’t listen to me.” A true leader develops relationships with their staff that allow a conversation that provides a conduit for a better end product, having input from those who do the work.
“He that thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him only taketh a walk.” – Dr. John Maxwell
Derry, Nolan & Associates’ healthcare and medical practice consultants can help your healthcare organization – medical practice, clinic or integrated healthcare system – with leadership recruitment, interim management, on-boarding and customer service training. 425·774·4893
To be considered a highly effective leader in today’s healthcare environment means the ability to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills by building strong interpersonal relationships with physicians, board members and staff through effective communication, collaboration, decision making and timely follow through. Furthermore, they must provide strategic direction to the physician management team and have the ability to promote effective physician communication and relationship competencies. Plus, this super-star needs thorough operational understanding to enable them to carry out cost-saving principles, as well as on-going process improvement.
We’ve assembled what we feel are the top ten leadership qualities clinic leaders will need to effectively deal with healthcare reform mandates while remaining viable in a market that continues to challenge their bottom line:
Top 10 Qualities of an Effective Leader
- Fosters highly effective and multi-functional teamwork with open dialogue (listens, listens, listens!) and approachability, interacting with the people they lead;
- Introduces and promotes changes to improve overall divisions and ancillary department’s performance and accountability;
- Can be flexible, adaptable and able to act in ways that at first glance seem contradictory (can be both tough and compassionate, can lead and follow);
- Skillfully negotiates tough situations with both internal and external groups;
- Is easy to approach, steps up to conflicts and provides information people need to know to do their jobs;
- Anticipates future consequences, trends and plans accordingly, has broad knowledge and perspective;
- Makes good decisions based upon a mixture of analysis, experience and judgment;
- Spends time on what’s important and prioritizes to accomplish goals utilizing others’ time efficiently;
- Comes up with new and unique ideas to foster creativity and problem solving that enhances process improvement;
- Demonstrates political savvy to communicate and discuss complex and controversial issues/concerns.
Don M. Berwick, M.D. co-author of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, and newly appointed CMS Administrator by President Obama, calls for nothing less than a redesign of the U.S. healthcare system, citing excessive inefficiencies throughout the work processes of health care. We both see this as a pervasive problem, too, and it is one of the primary reasons we started Derry, Nolan & Associates in 2003. It remains our consulting mission to reduce waste in the daily operations of each client that engages DNA.
In order for healthcare reform initiatives and a redesign of the American healthcare system to take hold, healthcare leaders will have to have a total mind shift and admit that they don’t have a “perfect” organization. After all, many of our current leaders, as well as the physicians they lead, have participated in building the inefficient system we find ourselves in today. DNA sees it all the time: excess staff, space, supplies and surfeit meetings to discuss issues that rarely move forward to the action and monitoring phase. Our next few blogs will explore these thoughts of how leadership needs to change and how to become more effective in leadership roles.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker
Derry, Nolan & Associates helps healthcare and medical leaders take their practices, specialty clinics or ASCs to the next level. Learn how with a free hour of consultation – call 425.774.4893 to talk to Barbara or Crystal.