The definition of what makes an ideal leader is evolving.  In healthcare that evolution is about to kick into high gear.

An A+ leader is one who can excite and energize the troops to help them move through the dramatic shifts in how a business must operate in a global economy.  Jack Welch, former GE Chairman and CEO, felt this was the essence of a good leader. 

By Hamilton83 [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For 20 years Welch successfully led GE espousing that philosophy.  Today the top business leaders of this decade relentlessly focus on finding executives who can energize and excite their personnel in leading more and managing less.  The “lead more manage less” style is essential, especially in times of sweeping transformation of an industry like the one healthcare is facing today.

Command-and-control executives, whose style evolved from former military veterans who rose to senior leadership positions following World War II, will not be able to achieve long-term sustainable results necessary for business success.  So, the first step to finding a career-enhancing cure is to find out if you have been afflicted with this deadly command-and-control style leadership virus.

The following test is vintage Welch, according to Robert Slater, former newsman and author who wrote two books on the GE CEO.

1.  Do you think you hold more meetings than is necessary?

 Yes                            No

2.  Do you believe you issue too many memos, electronic or otherwise?  Remember, emails replace memos.

 Yes                            No 

3.  Do you find yourself approving most decisions made by your direct reports?

 Yes                            No

4.  Do you find you are too hands-on in your direct reports’ decision making?

 Yes                            No

5.  Do you feel that in monitoring and supervising, you create more red tape than is needed such as written approvals?

Yes                            No

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, there is every reason to be concerned.  If you work in an organization whose corporate culture embraces this type of leadership, it is not too late to find another job.

Note:  Mr. Slater, a journalist and the author of more than two dozen books, including biographies of figures as diverse as the Israeli leader Golda Meir, the businessman Jack Welch and the billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, died on March 25 in Jerusalem. He was 70.