Leadership styles and healthcare practice considerations

Healthcare practice is so much more than the practice of nursing and medicine; a key to successful practice is how healthcare professionals work as a team. Working in the healthcare field is stressful and the health and lives of patients are in your care. While narrowing your focus on specific and technical aspects of care, it can be easy to miss things in your peripheral view. Many incidents of medical mistake and malpractice can be prevented by effective communication among healthcare professionals. Communication can be a function of leadership style, and in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, William C. Taylor, a leadership and entrepreneurial speaker identifies four leadership styles.[i] If you recognize yourself as one of these leader types, you might consider how that style could affect your communication with the other healthcare professionals with whom you work. This type of exercise can improve communication and decrease the risk of error in healthcare practice.

What is your leadership style and how can it affect how you communicate and work with other healthcare professionals?

  1. The Classic Entrepreneur

Natural characteristics of a classic entrepreneur include a thrill of competition and the quest for success, leading others toward the end goal of making money or measurable results. In healthcare, the end goal could be not only money but also publications and inventions. A classic entrepreneur may be more focused on the ends than the means to get there, which could be troublesome in medicine. The needs of healthcare professionals with a classic entrepreneurship style may find medical research and development fulfilling.


  1. The Modern Missionary

People who enter a profession to make a difference and leave an impact may be modern missionary-style leaders. They may be less concerned with the fruits of success, namely money, and notoriety. Instead, the modern missionary may strive to significantly impact the process and outcomes through their leadership and work. The passion to succeed and impact human lives may lead to modern missionaries to take risks that other leaders might avoid. In healthcare, this type of risk-taking could lead to new developments and cures. Risk taking can also lead to failures to heal and preserve life. Turning opportunities into causes can be great when managed in the right settings.


  1. The Problem Solver

A leadership style complementary to healthcare may be the problem solver. This leadership style is marked by confronting difficulties and identifying new opportunities. They tend to rely on the advice of respected colleagues and are collaborative in their process in reaching results. In healthcare practice, problem solver-type leaders rely on what they’ve learned in the formal process of practice and commit to guiding the other healthcare professionals and the organizations into the future, improving the systems and methods along the way. Problem solving leaders may be helpful in improving communications with other leader-types in the healthcare profession and helping keep a group focused on core treatment objectives.


  1. The Solution Finder

Also focused on the task at hand and incremental results and solutions, the leadership style of the solution finder may involve discovering profound answers from unexpected people and sources. The solution thinker may focus outside the sphere of medicine and study other fields to take note of innovations which may inspire new answers in healthcare. The process of treatment and care can be an area of focus for a solution finder. Professionals with this leadership style are not the center of attention, rather they find humility in a larger world of unknowns. Healthcare research and development may benefit from out of the box thinkers.

Most people may be more like one leadership style than another and some may tell you they feel they have a combination of leadership styles they see in their personal and professional lives. The exercise of asking ourselves what personality traits we identify with can be helpful in managing our focus in our work. Healthcare professionals who are high self-monitors can be more effective in treating patients and improving health while reducing risks and avoiding mistakes.

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Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

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[i] The Harvard Business Review, The 4 Leadership Styles, and How to Identify Yours, By William C. Taylor, Aug. 3, 2016.