True, successful leadership isn’t easy. Even the most admired leaders are faced with challenges and must look for ways to continue to develop. Industries change, technology and tools advance and new generations of workers continue to emerge, altering the management landscape year in and year out. Being a great leader is more than just adapting, it’s about being perceptive to these changes, and requires building on timeless skills they must consistently work to enhance. It’s important to remember that leadership is not a title, a role or a position of authority. Leadership is the sum of many different moving parts.
Five senior executives discussed leadership and how to inspire others at Becker’s 5th annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. They shared some thoughts on great leadership that are important for each of us to remember.
1. Certain characteristics of outstanding leadership stand the test of time.
Decisiveness, courage, passion, integrity, a desire to learn—we’ve all heard these tenets and more of outstanding leadership before. Great leaders should possess these characteristics and more, but should also have the self-awareness to know where they need to improve and grow. Becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight, but can be achieved through consistent evaluation and development of the attributes and characteristics that stand the test of time.
2. Communication will always remain important for a leader to be successful.
To be a great leader, you must be able to inspire and engage your employees—you will fail to do this if you aren’t communicating frequently or clearly with your teams. Leadership and effective communication go hand in hand, and great leaders often spend their time interacting with other people. Peter Economy, author of Managing for Dummies, says that effective communication can be achieved by sticking to the 7 C’s: Clear, Consistent, Credible, Confident, Civil, Concise and Compassionate. Follow these simple guidelines and you will find your communication with others to be more successful.
3. A great leader must be accessible to the workforce.
When managers or directors spend more time in their office, and are a faceless name to employees, they lose touch with their workforce. How can you inspire or motivate others if you’re not around? Great leaders spend a lot of their time listening to their employees. Being accessible is more than opening your office door—it’s also being receptive to meeting with employees and immersing yourself in the day-to-day to be approachable to those you lead.
4. The power of data shouldn’t be underestimated.
Across all industries, not just healthcare, data analytics is important for leadership to make projections and guide decision making. Tracking trends is important when developing strategies that align with organizational goals, and the data behind the scenes is where the opportunity lies.
5. Build Exceptional Teams.
Michael Haley, president and CEO of IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital stated,
“To anyone who’s accused me of being a great leader, I tell them I’m just really good at surrounding myself with people who are driven, committed and take ownership of their work.”
Part of building exceptional teams is the desire to make others better. Great leaders emphasize the personal and professional development of their team members and through this create more leaders. Those who empower self-guided teams are cultivating trust and autonomy and inspire others to be more effective and successful in their jobs.