Leadership Tips From The Book “The Frontline Leader”

Frontline employees enjoy a special status within a company. Since they are in direct contact with customers, they shoulder more responsibility than most other employees. Chris Van Gorder, who is the CEO of Scripps Health, has experienced this himself. In 2000, Van Gorder took the lead of five hospitals, which were in debt. Van Gorder was responsible for ensuring that everything was going change for the better and the hospitals have since been able to build a 220 million US dollar cancer centre. Herein, the smart CEO from San Diego has obviously learned a lot and reveals his top five tips for executives in his book “The Front-Line Leader.” So what tips may other CEOs and management teams take to heart?

1. Communication With All Employees Is What Matters Most

Having a vision for one’s own corporate goals is one thing. But this vision has to be successfully communicated and made understandable to employees to assist frontline employees in implementing these goals. Even if employees might not approve of the decisions of their leadership, they can at least implement them more effectively if they understand the reasoning behind it. However, very good communication skills alone are not sufficient. Furthermore, management should be accessible and take the time to listen to the feedback as well as the needs of their employees. Van Gorder therefore even went on to respond to most emails by employees within less than an hour. This also showed how valuable their input was to him.

2. Success Through A Hands-On Mentality

Executives who are hiding in their office all day often lack the necessary understanding of the different roles and the division of labour within their company in order to really make a difference. Van Gorder therefore recommends a hands-on mentality, in which the executive staff takes the time to experience the individual positions within the company themselves in order to gain better insight into the daily work of their employees. Herein, Van Gorder once again realized how much he could learn from just watching and monitoring the processes, which were going on in the hospitals that had been entrusted to him. Throughout this process, he had some of his best ideas for positive, profitable change.

3. Passionate Leaders

According to Van Gorder, passion is one of the most important qualities that really makes for excellent leaders. They not only lead their employees, but they also love the industry which they are part of. That is what will result in the unconditional will to really make a difference and have an impact.

4. Frontline-Management Is The Key To Success

The best CEOs know that the success of a company rests not only on their shoulders. Rather, it is a question of every leader supporting all of his subordinates so that all employees including frontline managers and frontline employees receive the resources and assistance, which are required for the greatest business success possible.

5. Never Too Nice And Yet Humble

Although Van Gorder is in favour of open corporate communication and a corresponding mentality, each employee must yet be held accountable. Executives should expect a lot from their employees and make them responsible for their actions. At the same time, one of the further aims is to provide employees with the tools, which they need to be successful. After all, a true leader is humble and knows exactly that it is his duty to help others succeed so that the entire business as well as the leader himself are able to benefit in the end.


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