The need for strong leadership in the healthcare industry has come into stark relief during the pandemic. Good leaders shined, while organizations whose executives were only equipped to deal with the status quo struggled. COVID-19 has tested the abilities and skills of healthcare leaders. The ones who embraced uncertainty, had built strong teams, and lived by their personal and organizational values before the pandemic have led most effectively during this past year.
Great leaders are steady through uncertainty.
By its very nature, healthcare is a series of unplanned events and emergencies—even in non-pandemic times. The leaders that had already developed the skills necessary to lead through uncertainty thrived during the pandemic.
Those who had welcomed the unplanned in the past were able to approach the pandemic as an opportunity to do things differently and embrace innovative ideas in order to serve their patients, communities, and employees. Leaders who had long held themselves accountable for theirs and their organization’s actions and were consistently open to feedback considered the way their hospital and its staff served patients during the pandemic to be their personal responsibility.
Great leaders build great teams.
I have had the privilege of working directly with outstanding leaders in several healthcare organizations. The connection between these great leaders is that they do not think of themselves as great. They attribute success to their teams, and are often dismissive of taking credit for their critical value in leading a successful team and organization.