By Stefan M. Werdegar, Vice President, Tyler & Company

I attended a great session on healthcare executive leadership at the American College of Healthcare Executives' Congress in March 2012 in Chicago. Two dynamic speakers provided their views on best practices in leadership. The comments from Bill C. Shoenard, FACHE, hit home, and are highly relevant to many organizations. Do all leaders embrace these characteristics, or do we see many who could make some adjustments? How will changes in healthcare require leaders to exhibit these traits?

Characteristics of a leader:

  • Passionate about a mission bigger than himself/herself; 
  • Takes care of people in his/her organization, providing the support and infrastructure to succeed; 
  • Determines where there are gaps in performance in the team and makes corrections;
  • Sets the tone for the team at the top;
  • Is open to taking in information, even when it's bad news;
  • Doesn't attribute motives to someone's position;
  • Understands each team members' personality, strengths and motivations; and
  • Is able to not be the smartest person in the room; i.e. can take in ideas from his/her team.