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Four Key Findings About Healthcare's Leadership Gap

December 24, 2015


At a time when healthcare organizations are facing unprecedented challenges, are we doing all we can to select, identify, and develop effective leaders? Generally, healthcare has lagged behind other industries in a deliberate, effective approach to talent and leadership.

Part of the gap is due to the historic focus on technical skills in physicians, nurses, and other providers, some of whom rise to leadership roles. Even in administrators, trained to lead healthcare organizations, the necessary leadership skills have changed. To their credit, progressive organizations have started leadership development programs, including those specifically for physicians. A few key interesting notes about leadership in healthcare:

  • “Healthcare is the most difficult, chaotic and complex industry to manage” – Peter Drucker

  • The Center for Creative Leadership has noted that nearly 40% of senior leaders fail within 18 months.

  • In Ten Flaws that Derail Leaders, Harvard Business Review, 2009, the authors noted that common characteristics of failed/ineffective leaders include behavioral deficiencies, that they aren’t even aware of.

  • The National Center for Healthcare Leadership is doing research showing that organizations using progressive leadership practices – including defining leadership behaviors, training, specific selection strategies, and 360 feedback - tend to do better in process of care/patient experience measures.

To date, though there are limitations with what even “progressive” organizations are doing:

  • Determining which physicians, nurses or staff have leadership potential is left to subjective criteria.

  • Training programs often neglect a structured approach to true behavioral/leadership skills - -focusing, instead on traditional “content”-based training.

  • Development of behavioral leadership skills is pretty unstructured – occasionally it’s mentoring, or some form of 360-degree evaluation.

  • The traditional 360 does have its limitations.

Seeing these challenges, Select has created a new Leadership Solutions platform that’s ideal for healthcare:

  • It’s built on proven, effective, valid tools that evaluate leadership behaviors.

  • The results of these can feed a developmental plan using the latest tools and resources, including the Harvard Business Review leadership content; and

  • A new cutting edge way for leaders to get real-time, on-going feedback from a circle of trusted others, via an easy to use mobile platform.

Click here to learn more about our new Leadership Tools.

leadership healthcare

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.