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  • Writer's pictureBruce Cummings

A Prescription for Hospital Leaders: Emulate 8 Essential Qualities, Adopt “Quiet Management”, and Approach Front-line Clinicians With a New Perspective

Updated: May 13

Calling all healthcare senior leaders, especially those aspiring to become a hospital or medical group practice CEO:  be sure to read an excellent article by Rebecca Knight, “The 8 essential qualities of a successful leader”, in the December 12 issue of the Harvard Business Review

Knight, a professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School School, posits the following qualities are required of effective leaders:

1.  Authenticity

2.  Curiosity

3.  Analytical prowess

4.  Adaptability

5.  Creativity

6.  Comfort with ambiguity

7.  Resilience

8.  Empathy

While not expressly written for healthcare, I endorse Professor Knight’s prescription for leadership success but would humbly suggest adding a 9th quality, “quiet management”.   This term of art, which is especially needed — but often lacking — in hospitals and health systems, was coined last year on LinkedIn by career coach Adam Broda.  As a former hospital CEO — and a colleague of Paul DeChant, MD, MBA, an author, coach, keynote speaker and international authority on preventing clinician burnout — I am particularly impressed with Brody’s “quiet management” as an operating or leadership style.  It dovetails nicely with our own experience helping health care organizations simultaneously reduce clinician burnout while improving operating results.  Here’s Brody’s explanation of “quiet management”:

Quiet Management in Healthcare Leadership

- stop checking employee start/stop times

- let people choose to work where they want

- encourage guilt free time off

- remove unnecessary meetings/distractions

- listen to team feedback about how I manage

- give employees what they need to be successful, get out of their way, and trust them to deliver

- Quiet Managers operate with a high level of trust in their employees, and don’t micro manage. This way, the job becomes more of a support role, and gives managers the time to get out in front and lead by example instead of leading by structure and administration.”

Taken together, Professor Knight’s “8 essentials of successful leaders” and Adam Broda’s “quiet management” illuminate a path forward in an industry that is far too often over managed and under led.

Ready to transform your hospital or workplace?

Are you frustrated by adversarial relationships between front-line clinicians and senior leadership? Organizational Wellbeing Solutions was formed to enable senior leaders to identify the specific drivers of clinician burnout in their organization; and to support leaders in designing and executing a comprehensive plan to stop clinician burnout, increase retention, and improve operating results. A hallmark of our consultancy is correcting the all-too-frequent distrust and alienation clinicians feel toward the c-suite generally and the CEO in particular. Let us help you help your organization and its clinicians develop a more trusting, aligned, and productive working relationship.

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