Written by: Dr. Kathy Gennuso
I recently visited a CEO of a community hospital. We had a great discussion on leadership and building a culture. He said, “I do not have policy and procedure manuals in my office. I live by one rule that works across the board– did you treat the patient like you would your mother, and I assume you love your mother.” Oversimplification? I don’t think so . . . that struck me for its direct simplicity – an appeal to reason that goes right to the heart.
Leadership is both science and art. It is a science with aspects that can be studied carefully and developed systematically, like methods, procedures, and new technologies. Good science quantifies, using reliable tools as results are measured, plotted, and implemented. But much of successful leadership lies within the intangibles, including a leader’s worldview and personal values brought to bear on the job, making it an art, as well. After reviewing many theories developed over the years, I find one thing apparent — there is no one clear-cut, surefire model for successful leadership. But I believe in two key guidelines, as that insightful CEO understood and affirmed:
- Develop and communicate strong beliefs – People need to know what you stand for. Thoughts create beliefs, beliefs create actions, actions sow habits, and habits establish your character.
- Accept responsibility — Accountability is critical to any level of success. Admit when you are wrong; it decreases criticism and exhibits maturity, transparence, and a teachable spirit – great traits to cultivate in your employees.
So, leaders: what do you lead with?!