Developing Effective Leadership in Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare is changing. Your leaders should too.

The Bailey Group is committed to helping healthcare leaders develop the skills they need to identify industry challenges and deliver long-term success to their organizations. Through our partnership with 3Pines M.D. Strategies and physician leader Steve Swanson, we go beyond just coaching leaders — we help them unlock their full potential.

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Healthcare leaders are under increasing pressure to deliver

The healthcare industry has come under extraordinary pressure in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated staff shortages, patient bottlenecks, and workplace stress and burnout, making it more difficult for health facilities to deliver quality patient care. Making matters worse, business models have shifted as patients increasingly rely on healthcare providers to prevent disease and ailments before they ever need to go to the hospital. While this has helped deepen relationships with patients, it’s also created new revenue challenges for health facilities.

Effective leadership is needed to overcome the healthcare industry’s most pressing challenges

These challenges will likely persist as healthcare’s role in people’s lives continues to evolve, making the need for effective leadership more acute than ever. The healthcare leader capable of rising above the challenges is the one best positioned to drive the success of the organization while maintaining high healthcare delivery quality. Leaders play a central role in shaping institutional culture, motivating team members, and directing resources and energies toward a set of quantifiable goals. Where your leaders go, your organizations follow — so long-term success in healthcare starts and ends with effective leadership.

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The qualities of an effective leaders in healthcare

Healthcare workers are highly trained, and they know what it takes to succeed in their jobs. But leading an organization is a different story. Here are the four core leadership skills and competencies emerging healthcare leaders need to master for success:


Effective leadership always starts with clear, consistent, and open communication. A lot happens in a healthcare organization on a day-to-day basis — new challenges emerge, decisions are made, and directions shift. It’s essential that leaders communicate those shifts to the wider organization to ensure organizational alignment. At the same time, leaders need to keep open lines of communication with their direct reports to stay in touch with the concerns and perspectives of their teams.


More than anything, healthcare professionals want to be heard and understood. They want to know that their concerns and their anxieties are valid, and they don’t want to feel like they can’t be angry at a bad situation. Effective leaders know how to connect with their direct reports and lend a listening ear to their grievances. They empathize with their stresses and serve as a compassionate witness to their sufferings, helping team members feel like their perspectives matter.


Healthcare workers sometimes struggle to understand why leaders can’t do more to solve problems — reducing hours, adding staff, and revamping systems all seem simple and straightforward. Leaders, however, know that their ability to implement institutional change is severely limited, and they make sure direct reports have insight into their limitations. While this won’t make the problems go away, it does help stakeholders refocus their energies on what’s in their control.


A great healthcare leader understands intuitively that their direct reports are their greatest assets. It takes years for a healthcare provider to establish themselves in their profession, and leaders don’t take that for granted. That’s why they strive to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and constantly create opportunities to invest in their professional development. Whether it’s hosting regular training sessions or creating avenues for upward mobility, leaders want to see their teams grow and thrive.

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Signs of an underperforming healthcare leadership team

It’s easier said than done. The challenges facing healthcare are often overwhelming, and many leaders struggle to keep their teams afloat through the most challenging of times. Here are the signs your healthcare management team is underperforming and is in need of better healthcare leadership:

Healthcare is a constantly changing space, and leaders often don’t have all the information when making a decision. While strong leaders know how to make a decision and stick to it, ineffective leaders are uncomfortable taking decisive action and may prevaricate after a decision has been made. Not only can this cause the organization to lack a clear sense of guidance, it can also be costly, as decisions in healthcare tend to have life-or-death implications.

Poor communication:
If great communication is at the heart of a health organization,
then poor communication is one of the telltale signs of underperformance.
Leaders who lack communication skills are unable to articulate their vision
for the future and can’t bring everyone along to buy in and actualize that vision.
That’s a serious problem because it means leaders aren’t able to engage their direct
reports, leaving the rest of the organization feeling directionless and frustrated.

Lack of accountability:
Accountability is the bedrock of a high-functioning team, but when leaders cast blame
on others or are unable to hold their direct reports accountable for their actions,
a culture of secrecy and mistrust can form. Worse still, unaccountable leaders are
unable to learn from mistakes and take corrective action to make sure the same
mistakes don’t happen again, dooming the organization to a spiral of poor decisions
and bad performance.

Fear of change:
What works today won’t always work tomorrow. That’s especially true in healthcare, where change is a constant and failure to manage it could mean serious consequences for the delivery of quality patient care. Unfortunately, underperforming healthcare organizations are unwilling to embrace change, seeing it as scary and rife with potentially disastrous uncertainties. While that causes organizations to miss out on opportunities to adapt and grow, it also makes leadership teams unprepared for a crisis.

Learn how The Bailey Group helped transform the leadership team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

The Bailey Group’s approach to healthcare leadership development

Our bench of healthcare leadership coaches includes trained coaches, licensed psychologists, and former healthcare leaders themselves. We have our fingers on the pulse of today’s healthcare challenges, giving us a unique understanding of the difficulties you face and putting us in the best position to help you grow and thrive.

Healthcare is challenging, and it’s only getting harder. Our goal is not to solve all of the institutional challenges you face, but to equip you with the leadership skills to face those challenges with a calm disposition and ensure your team members remain engaged and committed to your overarching mission.

Our development playbook:
1. Our coaching engagements start with a comprehensive leadership assessment. Using the Hogan assessment series, we take the time to build an in-depth psychological profile of each member of your healthcare management team. Combined with individualized assessments, we seek to gain a 360-degree view of the entire team’s leadership style and characteristics.

2. We take our assessment learnings and use them to build a customized coaching program that includes development conversations, collaborative sessions, and resources for individual self-study.

3. Throughout our coaching engagements, we conduct routine leadership surveys to ensure we are meeting your leadership development goals and predetermined key performance indicators. Ongoing surveys also help us identify new challenges and growth opportunities.

The outcomes of our coaching engagements
Here’s what a successful partnership with The Bailey Group looks like:

Remain calm in stressful situations: No two days are alike inside a health organization, and leaders are often tasked with devising novel solutions to emerging challenges. We help you acquire and practice the skills to remain calm and focused even in the most stressful situations so you can skillfully guide their teams through turbulent times.

Develop a more realistic organizational outlook: No one can control everything, and sometimes leaders find that their hands are the ones most tied. We work with you to build a healthier understanding of what you can control and what you cannot, encouraging you to focus your energies only on what you can.

Empower direct reports to achieve their fullest potential: It’s the leader’s job to ensure they’re getting the most out of everyone on their team. As a Bailey Group client, you’ll learn how to equip each of their direct reports with the tools they need to perform. As that capacity is built into the organization, you will become more effective at your own job.

Our coaching engagements are never one-and-done. We fully invest in the long-term development of each one of our clients to ensure you are equipped to handle new challenges as they emerge. Are you ready to elevate your leadership team and drive success for your organization? Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation.

Want to learn more about the
skills that lie at the heart of
healthcare leadership?

The Bailey Group difference: How we can help

At The Bailey Group, we do leadership development differently. Our team of executive coaches consists
of psychologists, behavioral scientists and former executives, giving clients an unmatched range of
leadership expertise to help them become great leaders and organizations.

With 32 years of experience and a team of 20 coaches with deep industry expertise, we understand better
than anyone that every leader and situation is unique. That’s why we focus on the individual first,
tailoring our individual or team development plan to fit their unique circumstances. Our client
relationships are built on trust and mutual respect — it’s what powers our mutual success.

In every leadership team engagement, we start by getting to know every member of your team. We work
with clients on a one-to-one basis to understand their leadership style, strengths and weaknesses,
providing real-time support and constant feedback throughout the journey to ensure we are driving
meaningful results.

The five components of a
strong healthcare leadership
development solution are:

  • Assessment of individual and team strengths, weaknesses and challenges
  • Goal alignment and formation of action plan
  • Learning materials to facilitate independent development
  • Regular feedback sessions
  • Identifying future growth needs and opportunities

Our client relationships aren’t just one-and-done; we’re fully invested in your leaders’ long-term development and your organization’s long-term success. We offer healthcare leaders a library of additional resources to foster a spirit of continuous learning and ensure that once they’re on the path to success, they stay there.

Let us help you

Let us help you. Get in touch with our team to schedule a complimentary consultation today.


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