Words matter.  Actions fulfill the promise of those words.  When a leader’s actions do not match his or her words, he/she is creating an environment that will compromise their achievements, damage their brand and, worse, limit the success of the enterprise.

At the core of what makes a talented executive a great leader is authenticity.  When a leader is perceived to be anything less than authentic, the consequences can be far reaching.

In healthcare, that environment can trickle down – actually it cascades – to such deeply important issues as quality of care, patient safety and customer satisfaction.

Why would anyone want to be admitted to a hospital where the work environment is dysfunctional, where the leader is seen in less than favorable terms – an executive fraught with inconsistency, yearning to be liked at the expense of respect, a shouter,   an abuser or a bully? 

These characteristics may be the extreme, but it is surprising how little it takes for the culture of the leadership to reach an unhealthy tipping point.  In challenging times, with financial, regulatory, and competitive pressures accelerating at breath-taking speeds, CEOs must be mindful of not only many complex issues and relationships,  they must also ensure that their authenticity gauge is working correctly.

© 2011 John Gregory Self

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