Five Ways to Cultivate a Rising Healthcare Leader

MHE PublicationVolume 28 Issue 5
Volume 28
Issue 5

While there are different ways that healthcare organizations can nurture emerging leaders, most incorporate these five critical aspects.



This issue of Managed Healthcare Executive recognizes the 2018 top 10 emerging leaders in the industry, as selected by our editorial advisory board. These remarkable individuals include leaders who have demonstrated their expertise in areas such as the human genome, opioid risk management, innovative cloud solutions, care management technology, and mental healthcare. They demonstrate the key attributes that define up-and-coming leaders: vision, drive, confidence, resourcefulness, and tenacity. 

Emerging leaders, as represented by this group, are often the product of organizations that actively encourage and develop their capabilities and acknowledge their contributions, as exemplified by the vast number of nominations we received this year.  

There are many different ways to cultivate emerging leaders, but the most successful organizations incorporate these five critical aspects:

1. Identify potential leaders

While there are a number of analytical assessment tools available to identify prospective leaders, perhaps the best tool is a management team engaged in the identification, formal and informal, of team members demonstrating leadership potential. Once identified, having a process that includes regular updates on how their skills are evolving, offering appropriate training, and establishing meaningful career paths can set a trajectory for growth for these individuals.

2.  Offer mentoring

One of the most valuable tools for grooming emerging leaders is providing a trusted resource that can be a sounding board for their ideas, provide feedback on how they are approaching projects and issues, and serve as a source of support and encouragement. In the best case, mentors should be drawn from the ranks of upper management and outside of a direct reporting relationship to the candidate.

3. Provide challenges

Putting prospective leaders to the test with opportunities that require creativity, goal setting, resourcefulness, and getting buy-in from various departments within the organization is an important step in determining how successful these individuals will be as leaders. Often, emerging leaders will exceed expectations on these types of opportunities, reinforcing their selection as future leader.

4. Let them lead

When management positions open up, look first to your pool of emerging leaders. Even better, give them opportunities to build out new products or services and take their skills to whole new level.

5. Recognize accomplishments

Recognition is important but needs to be personalized. Monetary rewards only go so far. Conference participation, appointment to community boards, and nomination to regional and national recognition programs are a few ways to let emerging leaders feel the love.

These individuals are not only the future of their organizations, but even more important, they are the future of our industry. Their importance cannot be overstated.

Healthcare in the U.S. is at a critical point. Rising costs, governmental indecision, aging, sicker populations, high deductibles, and a high level of consumer dissatisfaction create a rich environment for new and disruptive approaches. Savvy organizations understand this environment and are making the investment in finding and developing their next crop of leaders that can lead us all into the future.

Don Hall, MPH, is principal at DeltaSigma, LLC, in Littleton, CO. He is a member of the Managed Healthcare Executive advisory board.



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