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Van Gorder's 10 tips for leading an organization

Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder's new book, "The Front-Line Leader: Building a High-Performance Organization from the Ground Up," offers 10 broad suggestions for effective leadership.

1. Know your people. "You can't be a distant boss and hope to be an effective leader. You have to connect with people … (and) let employees know the real you. You'll find they respect and trust you even more."

2. Get outside yourself. "One of the greatest problems leaders face is the distancing that can take place in their own minds when they lose perspective and start to think of themselves primarily in terms of their titles. … When I find myself becoming a little too smug as a CEO, I alert myself to all the ways that I'm still learning."

3. The credibility factor. "Get personally involved in the front lines in a crisis. There's no substitute for actually being there — and for generally caring."

4. Tell stories. "Share exceptional things your employees do and inspiring stories about the organization. Every organization has its heroes and their examples can inspire us all."

5. Create a culture of advocacy. "Create numerous and meaningful opportunities for employees to make themselves heard. … and put employee ideas into action."

6. Take care of the "me" (meaning the workers' welfare). "Consider embracing a philosophy of 'no layoffs except as a last resort.' And put resources into place to help employees retrain, gain new expertise and grow."

7. Hold people accountable. "Create clear standards to guide performance and enforce them. When organizations fail, many times it's because managers aren't precise in telling people what they have to do and why."

8. Build loyalty and engagement from the middle. "Recruit managers as agents of cultural change in the organization and allow them to take a lead proactively driving change."

9. Bring people together. "Share informal power rather than dictating solutions" and "create structures that allow you to bring distrustful parties together to bridge the gap of information."

10. Ask "what if?" "Take long-term planning seriously … (including) contingency plans to address threats to local operations. The most valuable plan is the one you'll never have to use."

— Dean Calbreath

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