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Health care leadership development and training: progress and pitfalls

Authors Sonnino RE

Received 4 May 2015

Accepted for publication 11 November 2015

Published 12 February 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 19—29

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JHL.S68068

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Russell Taichman

Roberta E Sonnino1,2

1Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA; 2RES Coaching LLC, Locust Hill, VA, USA

Abstract: Formal training in the multifaceted components of leadership is now accepted as highly desirable for health care leaders. Despite natural leadership instincts, some core leadership competencies (“differentiating competencies”) must be formally taught or refined. Leadership development may begin at an early career stage. Despite the recognized need, the number of comprehensive leadership development opportunities is still limited. Leadership training programs in health care were started primarily as internal institutional curricula, with a limited scope, for the development of faculty or practitioners. More comprehensive national leadership programs were developed in response to the needs of specific cohorts of individuals, such as programs for women, which are designed to increase the ranks of senior women leaders in the health sciences. As some programs reach their 20th year of existence, outcomes research has shown that health care leadership training is most effective when it takes place over time, is comprehensive and interdisciplinary, and incorporates individual/institutional projects allowing participants immediate practical application of their newly acquired skills. The training should envelop all the traditional health care domains of clinical practice, education, and research, so the leader may understand all the activities taking place under his/her leadership. Early career leadership training helps to develop a pipeline of leaders for the future, setting the foundation for further development of those who may chose to pursue significant leadership opportunities later in their career. A combination of early and mid-to-late career development may represent the optimal training for effective leaders. More training programs are needed to make comprehensive leadership development widely accessible to a greater number of potential health care leaders. This paper addresses the skills that health care leaders should develop, the optimal leadership development concepts that must be acquired to succeed as a health care leader today, some resources for where such training may be obtained, and what gaps are still present in today’s system.

Keywords: leadership competencies, leadership traits, leadership skills, health care, training
 

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