What Leadership Skills Do Healthcare Leaders Need?

September 22, 2021

Changes are abundant in the world of acute healthcare and along the continuum of care today. Healthcare organizations are dealing with change at an ever-increasing pace as they move toward Value- Based Purchasing, Population health, transparency of HCAHPS scores and other easily accessible data that enables consumers, potential employees, insurance plans, government agencies and others to quickly know how the organization is performing along a wide variety of metrics. According to the 2015 American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Top Issues Confronting Hospitals survey (ACHE Division of Member Services, Research, 2016), Chief Executive Officers (CEO) are most concerned with the following:

  1. Financial challenges
  2. Patient safety and quality
  3. Government mandates
  4. Personnel shortages
  5. Patient satisfaction
  6. Hospital-physician relations
  7. Access to care
  8. Population health management
  9. Technology
  10. Reorganization (mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, partnerships) (ACHE, 2016)

While all of these changes are occurring, the senior management team or C-Suite of many organizations are aging, retiring or planning to retire.The average age of a healthcare CEO is 57. The average age at which a CEO plans to retire is 65. (Sachs, 2015)Who will fill the void when these leaders retire? As 2020 nears, the number of leaders within the age range of 35-55 will be at its lowest point, at a time when there is the greatest need. (Schawbel, 2016)The future potentially faces not only a shortage of nurses, physicians and allied health providers, but also of seasoned healthcare executives.Last year Rising Stars conducted a survey to determine what skills were necessary for healthcare leaders at all levels to meet the needs of healthcare's changing landscape and how organizations are developing leaders for the next step of their career journey.Top Leadership Development Topics for Senior Leaders

  1. Strategic Planning
  2. Leading Change
  3. Executive Presence & Current Health Care Issues (Tie)
  4. Accountability
  5. Organization Culture & Vision (Tie)

You can download the white paper titled The 2016 Leadership Development and Change Readiness Study of Healthcare Executives - Survey Results on the Rising Stars website at this link to learn what topics are most important for front line and mid-level leaders and how organizations are preparing their leaders for the pressing issues of today and tomorrow.I had the privilege of presenting at the IDN Summit and Reverse Expo in Phoenix and queried the audience about what skills they felt healthcare leaders should have. The audience consisted of senior level healthcare supply chain executives and their vendors. Here are the top three responses for each category:Senior leaders

  1. Leading Change
  2. Vision
  3. Mentor

Mid-level leaders

  1. Accountability
  2. Managing Multiple Generations & Organizational Culture
  3. Risk and Conflict Management

Front line leaders

  1. Interpersonal Communication
  2. Accountability
  3. Conflict Management
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