Becoming a successful leader today requires the ability to prioritize learning and continuous development of skills, knowledge, and behavioral competence. To excel in healthcare leadership it’s crucial to take note of certain habits that may be inhibiting your ability to grow and achieve your goals. Are you spending enough time on your own health? Maybe you have a hard time deciphering between being a friend and being a leader. Or maybe your biggest roadblock is your fixed mindset.
Whatever your challenges may be, leadership development can help you overcome them and become stronger and better equipped for leading within and across the various sectors of the healthcare ecosystem. In this article, we discuss the top 4 habits that may be preventing you from developing your leadership acumen.
1. Lack of Focus on Your Mental and Physical Health
As an industry that attracts professionals drawn to a mission of helping and healing, healthcare leaders tend to prioritize others above themselves. While noble, it is also imperative that you focus on your own mental and physical health. In fact, 93% of healthcare leaders are reportedly experiencing heightened stress and burnout. Today, it is more essential than ever to notice signs of your own personal stress and to understand ways to deal with it. For instance, ensure you get the right amount of sleep and exercise, eat the right foods, and practice other stress-relieving strategies like meditation and mindfulness.
Ask yourself this, if I’m not performing as my healthiest self, how can I help my team manage their stress and anxiety? Here’s a little anecdote that may help you remember to take care of yourself. Imagine being on an airplane as the flight attendant is going through the safety protocol. Flight attendants always stress that if you’re traveling with a small child or with someone who requires help, you must put your oxygen mask on first and then help them with theirs. Because if you run out of oxygen and can’t breathe, how will the person you’re with be able to survive as well? While this may be an extreme example, it still reigns true for effective healthcare leadership. If you’re not in your best mental and physical health, how can you effectively lead a healthy team?
2. Having a Fixed Mindset
A fixed mindset describes the perspective of individuals who view their talent, intelligence, and capabilities as static and unchangeable. Leaders with fixed mindsets typically believe that their and others’ attributes are innate and therefore may not actively seek opportunities for growth or development. Often, a fixed mindset leads people to avoid challenging experiences that may stretch them due to intimidation or fear of error.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, is a perspective through which individuals view their and others’ abilities as constantly evolving through various efforts, like practice and development. Those with this type of mindset typically embrace the process of lifelong learning and believe that they can improve their attributes through the deliberate actions they take.
Let’s take a look at an example of how to move from a fixed to a growth mindset. An executive director of a leading biotech organization was perceived by his team as lacking confidence in his and their ability to grow. Because of this, he did not look for opportunities to stretch and/or grow his or his team’s abilities. Staff retention was an issue as teammates felt that they had to leave in order to grow. The executive director knew he needed coaching assistance. So when a TLD Group executive coach stepped in, the executive director was coached to adopt a growth mindset specifically to:
- Acknowledge and embrace imperfections
- View challenges as opportunities
- Try different learning tactics
- Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning”
- Value the process over the end result
3. Blurring the Line Between Being a Friend and Being a Leader
Confusing the lines between friend and leader can create confusion for team members. Consider this example. A CMO at a regional health system was perceived by his subordinates as “one of the guys” with an inability to hold people accountable for their actions. With the team not hitting targets, the CEO recommended coaching for these leaders. By engaging in self-observation exercises and role-playing giving constructive feedback, the CMO improved his confidence and became viewed by his employees as a prominent, positive influencer at the highest level of the organization.
4. Not Developing Your Talent
Great leaders are steadfast in their focus on developing their team through a focus on succession. Succession plans provide a process for identifying and developing high-potentials either as a pool of talent for future roles or for specific high-profile roles within an organization. Effective leadership is all about building up others and training them to become powerhouse leaders in the future.
In this example, an insurance company developed talent from within in an informal manner. But as many senior executives were nearing retirement, the organization needed to provide a mechanism to enable the organization to assess, select and develop the next generation of leaders who could lead the organization into the future. Upon working with succession management experts from TLD Group’s cadre of leadership development consultants, this organization was able to:
- Create a future-based competency model
- Establish a clear picture of the organization’s bench-strength
- Regularly evaluate talent based on needs and expectations
- Proactively select current leaders for future open positions
Effective leadership is no simple feat. However, knowing one’s strengths as well as shortcomings can help leaders to become their best selves.
If you or a colleague are interested in leadership development to boost leadership acumen, reach out to us for a consultation. We’re here to help.