Are healthcare leaders born with the capacity to lead or a can anyone be trained to lead? It’s the old nature versus nurture debate, and the scientific underpinnings suggest that both sides of this equation play roles in effective leadership. Though some individuals may have personalities more suitable for leadership, which might be genetically influenced, all who aspire to leadership can and should receive specific training and formal mentoring, i.e. be nurtured as part of professional development.
The characteristics of higher-impact leadership in healthcare have been discussed comprehensively by Swensen et al.* These elements, including person-centeredness, front-line engagement, relentless focus, boundarilessness and transparency can be taught as components of a formal curriculum alongside other elements, such as providing clarity of purpose, being willing to learn from failure, giving genuine support to staff, and demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity.