Servant Leadership Creates Opportunities to Build Service Environment
‘It really allows us to anticipate and respond to the future’

As a hospital that has been acknowledged for its customer satisfaction, leaders at St. Joseph’s Hospital are seeing opportunities for other health-care institutions that adopt the approach.

The hospital began its servant leadership journey more than 18 years ago and has engaged its entire organization in servant leadership programs.

Signs of its success include being named a Summit Award Winner by Press Ganey Associates two years in a row, which recognizes top-performing facilities for customer satisfaction, as well as being ranked one of the top 100 hospitals by Thomson Reuters, a study based on overall organizational performance.

David Fish was CEO of the Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin-based hospital from 1983 to 2010, and is now vice-president for advocacy for the Hospital Sisters Health System, which owns and operates St. Joseph’s.

Fish says servant leadership provides an opportunity to “become better leaders.”

“It really allows us to anticipate and respond to the future, and I think in our case it has allowed us to do a better job in living our vision and communicating it and acting on it,” he tells Axiom News.

“It’s an opportunity by which you can give power and domination away and, through that, really build trust among individuals,” says Fish.

He says if this kind of trust environment is created and there is a true service environment an authentic personal growth environment is formed.

“I think when you put all these things together that they can help you champion positive change,” he adds.

Father Frank Corradi, mission educator and chaplain at St. Joseph’s, says he thinks servant leadership is the model that should be adopted in all health-care institutions.

“What’s happened in health care, in my opinion, is that we’ve become very competitive, and I think because of that we sometimes forget that we are here to serve, we are not here to take care of our own well-being,” he says.

“To me, servant leadership is patient-centered and that’s where we ought to be if we are doing the work we are supposed to be doing. And I hope that spreads,” says Corradi.

He points to the “wonderful” work of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and its inaugural conference focusing on servant leadership in health care held in October, 2010.

Corradi, Fish and director for mission accountability and leader formation Carolyn Craft presented at the conference. Corradi says he hopes the centre continues the event to encourage more people to catch onto servant leadership.

St. Joseph’s has materials they are willing to share with other hospitals, and a program that others could adopt.

“We’d like to spread the word, it has worked really well for us, and I think it would work well in any hospital,” says Corradi.  

Related Stories:

Hospital Creates ‘Transformational’ Experiences

Servant Leadership Fosters Fulfillment, Growth in Workplace

Servant Leadership Impacts People, Organization

St. Joseph’s Hospital Shares Servant Leadership Journey

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