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Leadership 101 for Healthcare Practices

Leadership in the workplace, at its foundation, is the ability to direct a group of people to achieve a common goal. Another definition of an effective leader is someone who can: (1) create an inspiring vision of the future, (2) rally a team to work toward that vision together, and (3) manage the vision’s delivery.

Many theories on how to lead well have been developed in corporate business settings, not healthcare contexts. So how can you apply the same principles to your practice? What does effective leadership look like in the healthcare space? How can you successfully motivate employees, colleagues, or patients to grow and achieve the most beneficial outcomes?

7 Characteristics of Effective Leadership in Healthcare

Ultimately, healthcare involves effectively leading people, processes, and resources to provide safe, quality, and effective patient care. To achieve desired results, you must be a forward-thinking, empathetic, productive, team-oriented, and innovative leader who is also an excellent communicator.
1. Lead by Example

To earn the respect of your colleagues, employees, or patients, you must show rather than tell them you’re a leader. Leading by example is a powerful way to inspire and motivate others to follow suit.
If those working under you hear you say one thing and act in a contradictory way, not following your own rules, you’ll quickly lose their respect and trust. Having one set of rules for leadership and another for employees or patients can lead to disconnection, apathy, and frustration in the workplace.
2. Be a Team Player

We’ll break leadership down into three different levels, two of which are less effective than the third.
  • Level 1: The boss tells others what to do, and they do it. Working relationships can be poor or nonexistent. Innovation may not exist, and ambivalence can quickly arise.
  • Level 2: The boss forms relationships with employees and patients. They engage with others regularly – spending time both talking and actively listening.
  • Level 3: The boss forms a team. People are held accountable, and relationships are built on trust. Members are eager to engage in discussions and decision making.

The most effective way to lead is by prioritizing your team over yourself – being a servant leader. When you give your team what they need, they’ll be more successful in the workplace. They’ll also feel more valued and respected.

By building an effective team and recognizing each member’s skills and talents, you may achieve your goals and vision more effectively. Team members should complement one another and feel empowered to lead in their area of expertise. They should feel comfortable participating in the decision-making process. 

When everyone feels like an integral part of a team, they can affect positive change and may be more content in their jobs. A more satisfied workforce can lead to improved patient care outcomes.
3. Inspire Others to Achieve Your Vision

The most inspiring leaders have one thing in common: vision. They can see beyond the present. They know how to set goals and make plans to achieve them. They also tend to dream big. They can paint a clear picture of their mission and effectively communicate how each team member plays a crucial role in achieving it. Their enthusiasm inspires others to get on board and progress toward a better future.
4. Be Willing to Evolve and Improve 

Modern healthcare is continuously changing. Costs are rising, business models are being restructured, and new technology is emerging rapidly. Leaders must be proactive – willing and able to evolve to keep up with changing demands.

Great leaders are continually seeking ways to improve processes and outcomes in their healthcare practices. They’re willing to take calculated risks and encourage innovation to improve models of care.
5. Create a Positive Culture

To create an optimal work environment, healthcare leaders must be supportive and empathetic to their employees. Their patients should feel safe and valued. Ethical and responsible behaviors should be foundational pillars of healthcare practices.
Proving your honesty and integrity and taking ownership when you make a mistake will help you build trust with others. Showing empathy can help you connect with your employees and patients by showing you understand and appreciate them. All of these attributes will contribute to positive work culture, affecting everyone who enters your practice.
6. Keep a Patient-First Mentality

Every decision you make in your practice can affect someone else. Your patient’s future health and wellbeing are, in a sense, in your hands. That’s why it’s crucial always to retain a patient-first mentality. Rather than acting impulsively in a stressful situation, your patient will be at the forefront of your mind, allowing you to make the best decision for him or her.

This focus can play into your workplace as well. Showing you have an open mind among your employees will encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas more openly, fostering further growth.
7. Learn to Communicate Clearly

Clear communication is vital in leading effectively in healthcare practices. Using the right communication methods at the correct times can empower you to empathize with others. Essentially, as a healthcare leader, your job is to be a coach and problem solver. You have to make strategic decisions on the fly and relay essential information to others.

Creating a Ripple Effect Through Effective Leadership

Intentionally investing in other people and creating an innovative, positive, and empathetic environment will help you create a ripple effect that touches everyone who engages with your practice. By communicating effectively, leading by example, and being a team player, you’ll inspire others to work toward your inspiring vision.

Professional Liability Insurance for Healthcare Practices

We can help you safeguard your business to protect your employees and assets. Our professional liability insurance includes, license protection, personal injury protection, and more.

HPSO has over 30 years of experience covering more than 38,000 healthcare businesses and 80 professional associations. We have the expertise to walk business owners through complex cases involving healthcare law. We work specifically with counseling firms, physical therapy and rehab firms, nurse and nurse practitioner staffing agencies, and home health practices.

Contact us to get an insurance quote for your business.
This publication is intended to inform Affinity Insurance Services, Inc., customers of potential liability in their practice. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized guidance. All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy. Any references to non-Aon, AIS, NSO, HPSO websites are provided solely for convenience, and Aon, AIS, NSO and HPSO disclaims any responsibility with respect to such websites. This information is not intended to offer legal advice or to establish appropriate or acceptable standards of professional conduct. Readers should consult with a lawyer if they have specific concerns. Neither Affinity Insurance Services, Inc., HPSO, nor CNA assumes any liability for how this information is applied in practice or for the accuracy of this information.

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