Can You Succeed as a Jekyll and Hyde Leader?
The following is a guest blog from Anthony Cirillo:
In his latest book Warren Bennis raises questions about the nature of leadership. He asks, "Can a leader both act and be real?" Bill George, a professor at the Harvard Business School, in his book True North, contends that a "journey to leadership" cannot be made without "framing your life story, discerning your passions, finding your leadership purpose" and aligning it with that of your organization. In short he is saying that you cannot fake leadership, acting one way in the work environment and another way when away from work.
Bennis contends that there are times when it is necessary to avoid being authentic. I disagree especially when it comes to healthcare. In this age of consumerism and transparency where you are dealing with people's lives and the emotions of caregivers and families it is paramount that you walk the walk of person-centered and patient-centered care in your personal and professional life. People will see through leaders who lead double lives. And given that most of our hospitals and long-term facilities are in small towns where "everybody knows your name" and your business, you better believe that they will be looking out to see if you lead your life with the same values you profess to lead your organization. Employees see through this as well and will not be motivated to authentic change following a Jekyll and Hyde leader.
That could get to a more systemic issue about how we hire and promote leaders in healthcare. We always look at past accomplishments and metrics that have been moved in previous jobs. But what about how they lead their lives? Should that be considered? I believe it should though I am not sure how you screen for that. Tell me how you do that.
I can tell you that to re-certify as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, you need to show how you contribute to the community beyond work. So at least in one instance you know that when you hire a Fellow of the College you are probably hiring someone who walks the walk in all areas of his/her life. This is not a commercial for the College but rather one example where you can begin to see a person's whole life picture. Are some able to lead without being authentic to their organizations or to themselves? What do you think?
Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC is a healthcare consultant, senior advocate and blogger for Wellsphere, Medpedia and others in the area of aging, person and patient-centered care and marketing. He consults with long-term care facilities and is available for management retreats and association keynotes. He is the author of "Who Moved My Dentures? His company, Fast Forward Consulting empowers organizations to change the healthcare experience and leverage it in their marketing.