Four Key Findings about Australian Healthcare’s Leadership Gap

At a time when healthcare organizations are facing unprecedented challenges, are we doing all we can to select, identify, and develop effective leaders? Generally, healthcare has lagged behind other industries in a deliberate, effective approach to talent and leadership.

Part of the gap is due to the historic focus on technical skills in doctors, nurses, and other providers, some of whom rise to leadership roles. Even in administrators, trained to lead healthcare organizations, the necessary leadership skills have changed. To their credit, progressive organizations have started leadership development programs, including those specifically for doctors. A few key interesting notes about leadership in healthcare:


  • “Healthcare is the most difficult, chaotic and complex industry to manage” – Peter Drucker

  • In Ten Flaws that Derail Leaders, Harvard Business Review, 2009, the authors noted that common characteristics of failed/ineffective leaders include behavioural deficiencies, that they aren’t even aware of.

  • The USA National Center for Healthcare Leadership is doing research showing that organizations using progressive leadership practices – including defining leadership behaviours, training, specific selection strategies, and 360 feedback - tend to do better in process of care/patient experience measures.

To date, though there are limitations with what even “progressive” organizations are doing:

  • Determining which doctors, nurses or staff have leadership potential is left to subjective criteria.

  • Training programs often neglect a structured approach to true behavioural/leadership skills - -focusing, instead on traditional “content”-based training.

  • Development of behavioural leadership skills is pretty unstructured – occasionally it’s mentoring, or some form of 360-degree evaluation.

  • The traditional 360 does have its limitations.

Seeing these challenges, our partner, Select International has created a new Leadership Solutions platform that’s ideal for healthcare:

  • It’s built on proven, effective, valid tools that evaluate leadership behaviours.

  • The results of these can feed a developmental plan using the latest tools and resources, including the Harvard Business Review leadership content; and

  • A new cutting edge way for leaders to get real-time, on-going feedback from a circle of trusted others, via an easy to use mobile platform.

To learn more about Select Assessments and Russell Resources healthcare platform, please contact

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