Leading Well, As We Should

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Sheryl Jackson HeadshotBy Sheryl Jackson

As I’m writing to you we are saturated here in Texas from a deluge of spring rains and even flooding in areas. RACC Commissioners have the opportunity to share what’s on our minds with you each month, and this is a topic I’ve been thinking about sharing with you for a while. We’ve all read books about leadership, studied outstanding leaders, and discussed and debated their theories and methodologies as well as their successes and failures. We learn from all of them. Why? Because leadership matters. So I’d like to share with you a fun leadership tool that can be used with collaborative teams. It crosses all interests and passions, so it truly engages input from all team members.

Leading well can also be called next level leadership. As you move through different areas where leadership influence is felt and its impact frequently measured, I want you to ask yourself, “If we were to take this to the next level, what would we do? What might it look like?” Establish for yourself a single action step or professional takeaway, something that you can execute. It can be a stretch goal—we all need some of those.

Here are a few examples of some leadership areas and how you can take your leadership to the next level:


Leading the Patient Experience:

Probing Questions: How can we orchestrate and improve patient touch points with team members, processes, policies, communications, actions, and the environment? What about with regard to culture, perceptions, and continuum of care? Is there an unexpected way we can achieve delight?

Sample Action Step: Examine the root cause of any derogatory patient survey comments. Correct where it’s a people interaction, improve if a process, or look at system enhancement if doable. Examine the roots of delighted patient survey comments and do more of it.

Leading Technology:

Probing Questions: Do you support request for information or RFPs on new technologies and department capabilities? Think of the safety of patient information – maybe the team can examine more closely how the manufacturer of a proposed new piece of equipment and system interface may leave the network exposed with added vulnerabilities for hackers and system breaches.

Sample Action Step: Explore a proactive approach with the CIO to ensure new technologies are bringing a proof of rigor and provide assurance of breach-prevention.

Leading Learning and Professional Development: 

Probing Questions: Are you able to support time off for team members to sit for the CRA exam? Are you able to reimburse team members for their CRA exam fees, study guides, and books?

Action Step: Request [improved] budget allocation to support team development and domain advancement, or reallocate within current budget.

Leading Strategy and Sustainability:

Probing Questions: Who might someday be stepping into your role? Are you currently mentoring a prospective candidate? What about outside candidates?

Sample Action Step: Schedule lunch with HR/Recruiting regarding the value and benefits of the CRA and request future position profiles list CRA Preferred. Request a CRA information folder through this link or contact CRA Coordinator Kathryn Keeler at KKeeler@CRAinfo.org or 978-443-7591 to let her know how she can help.


You get the idea. I encourage you to do this activity on your own (or with your team) with more areas that your leadership influences, such as finance, innovation, quality, growth, vision, work-life balance, and more. Additionally, you may want to take it one step further and tie each leadership component to a primary and secondary core value for organizational alignment.

I’ve used a similar exercise with collaborative teams and it can be quite effective. What’s unique about this exercise is that:

  • It’s a great way for the team to come together and constructively and thoughtfully develop a deliberate plan to collectively take the department to new levels.
  • It is also an exercise that can be reported on with regard to progress and outcomes.
  • It may be repeated periodically to optimize business results.

I do hope you find this helpful. It would be great to hear from you and how you may have used this tool or some portion of it. I always appreciate hearing from readers.

Sheryl Jackson is Public Commissioner for RACC and a resident of Dallas, Texas. Sheryl is a member of the American College of Healthcare Administrators of N. Texas and she is also a Board Member serving Empowering Women as Leaders as Director of Governance.  EWL supports women in achieving their highest potential through education, mentoring and networking.  You may reach Sheryl at: sherylmahoneyjackson@gmail.com.

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