PE: What are the essential qualities that make a good leader?
GY: Fundamentally a good leader will add value to their organisation. This will always include creating the conditions that allow the organisation to achieve really great results. It’s not about work for the sake of it but achieving meaningful results.
In the sporting world, that could mean winning the league, for business it could be productivity. For us at the MSG, this is about achieving quality health outcomes for people. In fact, quality can be an important outcome of itself.
Good leaders ensure that results are achieved in a sustainable way – not just a one-off but repeatable and consistent. Recruiting good people is an important part of this. Then making sure that they have every opportunity to stay happy and motivated for the long term. That will happen if the environment is conducive to people bringing their best, allowing them to progress, achieve, benefit from others and contribute to the team.
Leaders must therefore apply themselves to fostering these high trust, high performance conditions, being clear about what’s expected, encouraging the right effort and holding people to account.
PE: What do leaders need in order to face today’s challenges?
GY: Changes in demographics require changes in assumptions and strategies. This is especially the case for health care. Happily, life expectancy has improved significantly in recent years. Quality of health care and expectations have also risen. This creates long-term dynamics where former assumptions are simply not relevant if we are to prepare for and provide for future generations. We need to spend the proper time and investment to recognise and prepare for these changes.
Leaders therefore need open minds and a willingness to accept objective data – even if unpalatable – rather than hold fast to former assumptions. We need to spend the proper time redesigning our strategies with a ‘constant change’ approach to address new realities.