Is it true that some – or even many – young healthcare professionals do not want to move into management and leadership positions? I hear lots of opinions about this, and my own anecdotal experience suggests that some of our best and brightest don’t want to “move up.”
But why? To be sure, there are generational differences in how we think about “work/life balance” and how committed we are to achieving it. But do those differences explain it all? Is there anything more to understand about why leading and managing aren’t the attractors they once were?
I think there is a lot more. One big factor is how those in managerial roles talk about their leadership lives. A young colleague said it well: “When my boss constantly complains about how much work she has and how little time she has for life outside of work, why would I want her job?”
As senior leaders and managers, how often do we talk about what’s good about our roles? How often do we say what we really love about the jobs we have? It might be something like: “I love my job because I have a great deal responsibility, but I also have a lot of freedom.” Or, “My role is exciting – I am able to make a positive difference for many, many people who need healthcare.” Or, “What I do can make a big, positive difference in the environment in which my healthcare colleagues practice.”
As one colleague said recently: “I work hard and I travel a lot, but no day is ever the same. I am always engaged, I am always stimulated, and I always know that the work my team and I are doing matters.”
Just imagine how many new, young healthcare professionals would want to have our jobs if these were the stories we were telling.