Uncovering the “Humbition” of High-Performing Healthcare Leaders

Whether you’re a student with C-suite aspirations, an employee seeking advancement opportunities or someone already working at the executive level, it is crucial to be able to evaluate and recognize the traits guiding organizations and teams to long-term success.

In his book Intangibles: The Unexpected Traits of High-Performing Healthcare Leaders, Amer Kaissi, PhD, combines findings from numerous interviews with researchers, executives, philosophers and thought leaders with data from studies and surveys to determine what makes a healthcare leader successful. What he found is that many high-performing healthcare leaders thrive due to what he has dubbed humbition.

“Effective leaders,” Dr. Kaissi writes, “are admired for their humility, compassion, kindness and generosity, and are respected for their ambition, toughness, determination and competence. They’re humbitious.”

In contrast to the long-standing belief that fear or intimidation is what drives an organization to success, Dr. Kaissi has found that a more positive leadership approach can be incredibly effective for both productivity and overall employee satisfaction.  

For example, consider the case of Heidi Pandya, a healthcare management consultant who showcases the humbitious leadership style by prioritizing communication, collaboration and accountability among her team. Rather than penalizing others for mistakes, she uses them as opportunities for improvement and to build loyalty.

“They know that when they tell me about a problem, my first reaction is to understand [it] and to find a solution, not to get frustrated or angry at them,” she explains. “I do that because this is who I am, but also because I want to build a team and retain people. I don’t want to keep losing people and rehiring new ones and training them.”

This is just one of the many instances Dr. Kaissi uncovers in Intangibles that showcases the positives of adapting to the humbitious leadership approach. From clothing retailer Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s humility, to the subtle compassion of Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of England’s Manchester United Football Club, we see that there are many ways to successfully incorporate positive leadership styles into a variety of fields.

While it may be surprising to see that compassion, humility, kindness and generosity are highly valued leadership characteristics, incorporating them into a leadership style ultimately makes the most sense from a business perspective. Simply put, employees who feel valued, understood and heard are more likely to stay with an organization. 

Looking to develop or evolve your own leadership style? Discover more about Dr. Kaissi’s findings and how to reach all of your leadership goals with these resources:

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