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Time for Women to 'Lean In' to Healthcare Leadership Roles

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, April 1, 2013

"Certainly in healthcare, collaboration is key, teamwork is key, and communication is key. So I think all of those essential qualities are things women are known to possess and will serve them well in those executive ranks.… You have to demonstrate collaboration and teamwork in order to be a successful leader, because of the demands of integration and partnering with new players and all the things that are on the to-do list of the hospital C-suite," says Bowen.

The leadership at the top of healthcare should reflect the workforce it's leading and the community it's serving. Women have the essential skills for leadership in this era of reform. They're natural collaborators, more likely to have the clinical knowledge to improve patient care, and they regularly invest to build future leaders. It's time for a shift in the industry that recognizes these strengths, and a shift in the minds of the women waiting in the wings for their moment.

"Women need to recognize the power that they have and leverage it," says Bowen

In Lean In, Sandberg cites a 2011 McKinsey & Company report that says men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments. Let's start promoting women for the strengths they can bring to the table, and build the potential for the future of the industry.

"When more people get in this race, more records will be broken. And the achievements will extend beyond those individuals to benefit us all," writes Sandberg.


Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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2 comments on "Time for Women to 'Lean In' to Healthcare Leadership Roles"


ERASTOTHENES DE ALEJANDRIA (4/3/2013 at 11:37 AM)
Unfortunately and still today, the woman has a big problem. You must choose between personal life and work life and also must do so on occasions, repeatedly and that leads to not want to ascend to great works that can limit your personal life. I think that it is very difficult to give a solution to this problem. I don't have it

Phyllis Kritek, RN, PhD (4/2/2013 at 10:20 AM)
I read this report with fascination. It reflects the chronic blind spot Health Leaders Media tends to perpetuate. Most C suites have a woman, the Chief Nursing Officer who is usually a woman, providing leadership of the largest portion of the work force doing the work most directly related to the organization's mission: patient care. Yet there is a tendency to ignore this resource pool for CEO and COO positions. And of course, yes, they have a clinical background. Wouldn't it be interesting to find out why this resource pool is ignored or passed over? I often wonder what CEOs would do if confronted with the leadership challenges managed by most CNOs.