Investing in Healthcare Leadership
Thought Leadership

The Future of Healthcare Leadership: Invest in Your People and Grow Multipliers

Written by contributing writer, Shiyen Shu, MSc.OT, Hon.BSc(Kin), PMP, CYT, Certified Executive Coach

Healthcare has a bias for evidence-based best practices, which oddly enough is a barrier to innovation. In this rapidly changing landscape of complex regulations, new technologies, and more educated patients, demanding the highest quality of care, leadership has become more important than ever before.

The traditional model of the hero-leader who saves the day, knows it all, is the smartest person in the room, driven by power, fame, or glory will not thrive in today’s environment.

Nobody can claim to have all the answers to solve the complex crises we are facing.

People today expect a different kind of leader.

So, what kind of leaders do we need?

  1.     Leaders who have self-awareness

Great leaders know that great leadership starts with themselves.

Based on extensive research involving more that 5000 participants, Tasha Eurich, author of the book, Insight, found that while 95 percent of people believe they are self-aware, only 10-15 percent are actually self-aware.

Recently, one CEO told us it’s not important to gather 360 feedback as their colleagues should feel comfortable coming directly to them.

But how comfortable are they?

When people work with someone with high confidence and remarkable intelligence, like a typical CEO, they tend to shy away from giving direct feedback.


  •       Asking for 360- degree feedback and working with a coach or trusted colleague to uncover your blind spots and understand the results.
  •       Creating a plan using feedback from your team, for the required change in a specific behaviour in the future.
  •       Scheduling routine reflection and thinking time.


  1.     Leaders with a bold vision and courage to take the road less traveled

Many leaders tend to focus on limitations and barriers. 

Those who are going to lead the future of healthcare will have a solid vision, and confidence to make it a reality. When there is no vision, no amount of effort, money or resources can help.  

Our vision makes our purpose come alive. Be clear about your purpose and how that connects to your organization’s purpose. You cannot choose circumstances, but you can control your mindset. Your mindset determines whether you generate hope, inspiration, and energy around you, or bring others down.

Be bold and brave in your thinking and actions. Challenge others and be willing to be challenged, testing the status quo, and standing up for what you believe in. Hold difficult conversations, encourage constructive conflict to get to the best outcome.


  •       Writing down why vision is important to you. Do you have a vision for your personal life? For your business or career? Evaluate how compelling and interlinked they are.
  •       Asking others, “How could I be a better leader? How could I do better?
  •       Challenging yourself and thinking of a situation you’re facing now; how would you respond if you took a bolder approach?


  1.     Leaders who role model humility and compassion for all

Why do so many leaders try to prove themselves? 

In this era of health human resource crisis, burnout and mental health at its peak, leaders require a healthy dose of humility and overarching compassion for all.

Leading with compassion imparts hope to your team, allows you to connect with them as a fellow human being, and exemplifies the purpose of their work.

“The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches between your head and your heart.” – Andrew Bennett

In Jim Collin’s book, Good to Great, the concept of Level 5 leadership was introduced. (See Figure 1) Level 5 leaders display a powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will. They are incredibly ambitious, but their ambition is first and foremost for the cause, for the organization and its purpose, not themselves. 


  •       Being vulnerable and authentic, showcasing your true self, your whole self, the best version of yourself. This does not mean sharing everything with your colleagues, it means sharing emotions and struggles when appropriate and helpful to others


  1.     Leaders who are “Multipliers”

Almost everyday, we hear from highly qualified, educated professionals and young leaders who feel they could be doing so much more than their current job demands.

There is more intelligence inside our organizations than we are using. 

Liz Wiseman came to discover a certain type of leader, she called “Multipliers. These leaders saw, used, and grew the intelligence of others. Multipliers increase intelligence in people and in organizations, so people actually get smarter and more capable around them. We need more multipliers in healthcare leadership.


  •       Sizing someone’s job the way parents shop for shoes for a young child; parents tend to buy a pair that’s a size too big and expect the kids to grow into them. Try supersizing someone’s job ; assess their current capabilities and then give them a challenge that is a size too big.

o   Give an individual contributor a leadership role

o   Give a first-line manager more decision-making power

o   Most ambitious and aspiring young leaders will be up for the challenge. Step back and watch them grow.


  1.     Invest in your most valuable asset: your people and leaders

Many healthcare leaders are promoted from clinical roles into management roles without adequate training, coaching or mentorship in leadership.

It’s not enough to send your people to off-site retreats, courses, certifications, and degrees. Real leadership development happens on the job. Invest in a robust system to retain your best talent and nurture them to fulfill their true potential.

Most leadership development and training programs focus on the outer layers of behaviours and actions, with little to no emphasis on deeper world views and values. (See Figure 2) Future leaders need to be supported to dive deeper by reflecting and trying to understand their own values and world views. 

In a fast-paced environment with back to back meetings and endless distractions, you spend little to no time reflecting on the inner layers of your leadership approach. With so little reflection, you tend to accept the world views from others without intentionally choosing them.


  •       Creating a learning and feedback culture within your organization.
  •       Providing leadership development opportunities, including coaching and mentorship at all levels, for development and growth instead of performance issues.

The way we lead has profound implications on people around us. We cannot transform organizations and healthcare unless we reflect on who we are as leaders.

  1. What kind of leader do you want to be?
  2. What values define you?
  3. How would you describe your purpose?
  4. What are you doing to create an environment in which others can thrive and flourish?
  5. Are you doing your best to be your best?

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler


References & Additional Reading:

–        Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter by Liz Wiseman

–        The Vision Code: How to create and execute a compelling vision for your business by Oleg Konovalov

–        Humbitious : The power of low ego, high-drive leadership, by Amer Kaissi

–        Insight: The Surprising Truth about how others see us, how we see ourselves, and why the answers matter more than we think, by Tasha Eurich

Healthcare Leadership

Figure: Adapted from Kaissi, “Humbitious: The power of low ego, high-drive leadership”


About the Author:

Shiyen is a highly regarded and in-demand Executive Coach and Speaker, with a passion for serving the healthcare industry.  She has served the most vulnerable as a frontline clinician, and quickly progressed to leadership roles, now partnering with some of the top healthcare leaders and organizations. She was recently recognized as a Top 200 of the Biggest Voices in Leadership by leadersHum and received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for her contributions.