Hogan Partners with Witt/Kieffer and Providence Health & Services on Physician Executive Performance Study


What are the characteristics that define outstanding physician leaders? A yearlong collaborative study of more than 100 physician executives conducted by Hogan Assessments, executive search firm Witt/Kieffer and Providence Health & Services found that certain qualities can actually predict strong performance.

Using proprietary personality assessments and performance feedback, the researchers found that the most important and revealing features include: resiliency under pressure, ability to handle competing priorities with ease; trustworthiness and approachability; optimism and confidence; and a willingness to share praise and approval with others.

“We wanted to understand the difference between good and great physician executives,” says Richard Metheny, head of the Leadership Solutions practice at Witt/Kieffer. “By identifying these key characteristics, we’re able to create tools to help health networks find, hire and develop the kinds of high-performing physician executives that will lead them well into the future.”

The physician executive study also found that strong physician leadership fosters patient loyalty in a health system. Those physician executives who received higher patient loyalty ratings within their respective practices as persistent, self-confident and willing to lead and mentor team members. They are decisive, assertive and open to new ideas and methods. These high-performing physician executives also stimulate the creativity on their teams and are visionary leaders themselves.

“We now have a reliable template for gauging and predicting the performance of a physician executive, along with specific way in which today’s healthcare organizations can better empower physician leaders and structure leadership teams for success,” says Kimberly Nei, Ph.D., Hogan’s Manager of Client Research.

The study finding will also help health systems to understand different executives’ competency strengths, which will enable them to create the right mix within a team structure. For instance, combining a curious, scientific, data-driven approach to learning with a focus on the interplay between tasks and the hospital’s bottom line will do well to forward and organization’s business goals.

“Physician leaders are by nature curious and driven to improve,” says Craig Wright, M.D., a leadership consultant and former Senior Vice President of Physician Services for Providence. “This research helps them to gain insight into their potential blindspots and areas for development opportunities.”

Access the complete report here: Predicting Physician Executive Performance.