We are in a study and discussion of Gary Burnison’s recently published book titled, The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership. Burnison is CEO of Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm.
Burnison addresses a particularly timely and relevant leadership quality and skill for current healthcare leaders:
“When I was first promoted to CEO, on several occasions – whether I was in a meeting, giving a speech, or having a phone conversation – people would ask me, “Are you okay?” At first I couldn’t figure it out. Then it dawned on me. I had failed to appreciate that equally as important as what I was saying (and perhaps even more important) was how I was saying it. From that moment on, I shifted. I did away with PowerPoints, and I made sure I focused as much on my tone, my attitude, and the energy with which I spoke to and interacted with others as I did on what I had to tell them.”
Having been a healthcare leader for over 40 years, I cannot recall a time of more uncertainty and turmoil within the healthcare field than today. I cannot recall a time when healthcare leaders were more likely to intentionally or unintentionally reflect pessimism, gloom and doom.
The real and perceived challenges and obstacles seem piled a mile high in front of us. Positive options and outcomes are far less obvious and many times very unclear.
“As the leader, you cannot allow your gray days to show. If you do, others’ perceptions of what you’re thinking or feeling will become their reality. Pessimism and doubt are simply not an option. No matter what worries or concerns are on your mind, you are always the one who people look to for direction and assurance. Your team needs to know that “we’re going to get there,” and that a game plan exists to make that belief a reality, particularly when things are not going your way.
As difficult as it may seem, you, as a healthcare leader, are in the confidence building business. In spite of the seemingly overwhelming obstacles and challenges, you must remain in the confidence building business!
Without question, your thinking, your attitude, your behavior, and the way in which you perceive and react to the current and future healthcare environment will become the reality of the people and the organization you lead!
For every effective leader, self-examination is always in order. Like Burnison, do you sometimes fail to appreciate that equally as important as what you say (and perhaps even more important) is how you say it? Do you allow your gray days to show? “No matter what worries or concerns are on your mind, you are always the one who people look to for direction and assurance.”
Never forget. You, as a healthcare leader, are in the confidence building business!
Copyright © 2012 by Dan Nielsen
Founder, National Institute for Healthcare Leadership – www.nihcl.com
Founder, America’s Healthcare Leaders – www.americashealthcareleaders.com