By: Barry R. Cesafsky, FACHE
It has been a year…and what a year it has been. Having passed the unbelievable number of more than a half million deaths in the United States and now resurging with new variants the Coronavirus Pandemic is touching the surface of every relationship and contact we have. It shapes our attitude towards every aspect of life. The last world-wide pandemic—The Spanish flu—was just a 100 years ago. As we know, it too had wide ranging influences upon the population and upon society in general. The drop in the male labor force because of the Great War as well as the Great Pandemic gave empowerment to male workers but also had a profound effect upon the labor force gender composition. The proportion of women in the work force rose from 18 per cent in 1900 to almost 21 per cent in 1920.
Certainly, the present Pandemic will likewise have many far-reaching effects which may cause some to only think in the “Doom and Gloom” realm. Sure, there are going to be—there already has been—major shifts in our economy, our society, almost every aspect of our lives. “What will happen to all the empty office buildings around the country that we found we didn’t need because we could work remotely? What happens to the many shopping malls that close because we now use our keyboard to shop at home? What will the role of health systems and hospitals be with population and community health?
As healthcare leaders, we have an obligation to lead our important industry as we emerge from this difficult time. That leadership begins within each of us. The best approach to success, is to begin with strong character – especially the moral qualities, ethical standards, principles, and other aspects of a leader’s make-up. Just as a rising sea raises all boats, a transformational leader with good character, will achieve the best results. As with every threat or challenge, there is an opportunity to meet it, and when good character is present, success will follow. It has been said that good character is present when a leader does the right thing, even when no one is looking.
We need visionary leaders with distinguishing features and positive attributes to help guide us to a new, better place. This is particularly true in the healthcare provider world, which has been directly affected by recent events. At HealthSearch Partners we look for good character in leaders – qualities and traits that set visionary leaders apart from the average candidate. We always set the standards high to find the best character features and traits in the leaders we place. Superior character leads to better actions and the best results, overcoming the many challenges of the Pandemic.
Good leaders with character also possess a certain amount of optimism. Of course, they usually balance this with realism and level-headed judgement. They are not simply a Pollyanna looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. A true optimistic leader is pragmatic, has an accurate appreciation of reality, and knows how to recognize obstacles and overcome them to achieve success.
Transformational leaders know that good character and an optimistic attitude are best, and they apply it daily, leading their organizations to new heights. Character and optimism are a “vaccine” for Covid-19.
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