Leadership Characteristics of Hospital CEOs: Factors That Influence Leadership Style
Janssen, Lynn T.
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The problem: Healthcare executives face significant challenges leading their organizations through increased consumer demands, decreased funding, regulatory intervention, and professional staff shortages. There is a need to understand the type of leadership that exists and that which would be most effective in addressing these challenges. Procedure: Sixty-three of Iowa's 116 hospital CEOs completed the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) about their leadership behaviors and traits. Additionally, 290 of their associates (superiors, peers, and subordinates) rated the CEOs using the same tool, resulting in a leadership profile for each CEO. The CEOs also completed the Rokeach Values Survey (RVS) and a sixitem biographical questionnaire. Findings: The associate raters characterized the CEOs as displaying transformational behaviors and traits fairly often (3.23, on a scale of 0-4), transactional behaviors sometimes (2.40), and passive-avoidant behaviors once in a while (0.92). Leadership styles strongly correlated with the raters' assessment of extra effort, satisfaction and perception of CEO effectiveness. Transformational leadership was highly correlated with increased levels of extra effort, satisfaction, and perception of CEO effectiveness, while high passiveavoidant scores negatively correlated with the same factors. Leadership styles, when correlated with the CEOs' values, age, gender, years of experience, leadership training, and hospital size and setting, mostly offered weak correlations of little practical value. Conclusions: Hospital CEOs have self-perceptions, and are viewed by others as having transformational leadership qualities. Transformational leadership, which has been correlated with positive organizational outcomes, will serve hospital CEOs well as they address the needs of their organizations. Individuals concerned with recruiting and retaining hospital CEOs should consider focusing their attention on leadership style rather than the factors of age, gender, years of experience, or hospital size or setting. Recommendations: (1) Address the relationship between leadership style and organizational outcomes. (2) Determine the degree to which transformational leadership permeates the organization. (3) Assess the value and effectiveness of transformational leadership training in healthcare settings. (4). Determine the benefit of a transformational leadership model in recruiting, retaining and supporting hospital CEOs.
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