Author: Susan O'Hare

Balancing pragmatic operators with visionary strategists on your team

What have you learned about the leadership depth and breadth of your organization during this pandemic? Healthcare leaders, I would argue, are expert at managing a crisis: Mass traumas, bed availability crises, critical nursing shortages….the list goes on. But how have they led through the crisis?

Have you found a wealth of inspiration and creativity on your team? The ability to inspire team members to see a future with hope in a crisis is critical to your organization’s overall wellbeing. Creativity is essential on a leadership team and a trait that can shine when confronting a never-before-seen event.

Does your leadership team include both visionary strategists and pragmatic operators? Operators process challenges by drawing from previous experience to solve problems in new situations. Strategists, meanwhile, rise above the "chaos clouds" to envision and share a hopeful new future. An unbalanced team of operators can become mired with their heads down, solving today’s problems without thoughtful regard to life after the crisis resolves.

Do your leadership discussions reflect core values and decisiveness?

No team is complete without those who see organizational life through facts and figures balanced with compassionate concern for the human impact of decisions. As you face tough choices through this crisis, do your discussions reflect the values you profess to your team members? For example, if your organization grappled with layoffs or furloughs, how did leaders also demonstrate empathy?

Lack of decisiveness can cripple an organization. Does your team recognize when they have gathered sufficient facts to make a decision? Is nimbleness a core trait of your team? Do you make courageous decisions? Think about the leadership meetings you have attended over the last three months when circumstances demanded rapid decisions. Did you learn something about the capacity of your team to pull together as one to support those whom you are honored to lead?

Exceptional leaders continuously evaluate the balance of operators and strategists on their teams. Visionary leaders work to maintain the strength of broad thought by investing in leadership assessment, executive coaching, and purposeful recruiting. Crisis brings out the best and the worst in individuals—and that holds true for team talent as well.

Are you an exceptional leader? I challenge you to assess thoughtfully the balance of leadership traits around the executive table and demonstrate the courage to change what is not working.

Gallagher’s Executive Search and Leadership Advisors can help you to assess your leadership talent and develop a plan to strengthen your team. Let us know how we can help.

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