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Five traits emerging healthcare leaders own


Successful organizations nurture strong performers and help them bridge the gap between the present and the future.



The May issue of Managed Healthcare Executive features the top 10 emerging leaders in our industry, as selected by our editorial advisory board. Included in this list are up-and-coming leaders who are tackling critical issues such as opioid addiction, hospital safety, stroke management, digital fund raising for startups and the creation of innovation centers. But even more important than these impressive accomplishments are the attributes that led to their inclusion on this list. In other words, what characterizes emerging leaders?

While there are many qualities that might define them, these five are in the DNA of all emerging leaders:




Perhaps no trait better characterizes an emerging leader than vision. It is the driving force behind virtually all accomplishments. Vision fuels passion and drives the zeal to overcome obstacles. It’s the inner force that sees a goal and is compelled to move toward it.  It’s a fire that can’t be doused. One of great things about vision is that it’s contagious and can quickly imbue a team with a force to achieve it that goes beyond the accumulated talents of the individual team members. 




At this point in our modern history, everything that’s easy to do has probably already been done. What’s left is difficult or nearly impossible to accomplish. Leaders don’t let difficulties stop them. They pursue their goals despite setbacks or naysayers and find a way to get back up every time they’re knocked down. They’re the people who don’t stop moving forward because of roadblocks. They latch on and don’t let go.




It’s hard to be around an emerging leader without sensing a confidence that projects in everything that they do. They believe in what they’re trying to accomplish and are certain that they will they find a way to make it happen. Their confidence projects onto their team-helping to boost the team’s belief that they can rise to the challenges and accomplish their goals. 




Whether it’s capital, people, executive support or media, emerging leaders assemble the resources they need to get things done. Especially in difficult times, leaders rise up and somehow stretch whatever resources are available to accomplish their goals. They often find ways to enlist support using informal channels throughout an organization. 



Achievement oriented

Emerging leaders have a penchant for setting bigger and bigger goals and doing everything possible to meet them. They place a high value on the legacy of achievement and share that with their teams. “We did it!” is their mantra and as soon as one goal is met, they’re on to the next as they strive to move to the vision that burns inside them. 

If there was ever a time that the healthcare industry needed to embrace our emerging leaders, it’s now. Whether it’s political or regulatory changes, managing the escalating cost of healthcare, confronting the challenges of making healthcare safer and more effective, or taking a more comprehensive perspective on the social determinants of health-we need more leaders in our industry. Successful organizations will find and nurture their emerging leaders and help them bridge the gap between the present and the future.

Don Hall MPH, a former health plan CEO, is principal, DeltaSigma LLC, in Littleton, Colorado.


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