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Julie Guethler is a member of the Job Shapers Leadership Council the owner of Transform Healthcare Strategies, providing consultative services to physician practices in the areas of revenue cycle management, workflows, space design and interim management services (not to mention the past president of Greater St. Louis MGMA).

She recently wrote an article for MGMA titled Leaders – Born or Made? that I’m re-posting below – partly because I served as a source for her writing.


With the upcoming elections, it seemed appropriate to look at the age-old discussion of whether leaders are born or made. While some would argue for nature, I am making the case that nurture also plays a role. Developing leaders within our organizations can be challenging.

While I have held many leadership roles, I reached out to an expert to break down four foundational steps to developing leaders and assisting in their continual growth. David Hults, executive director of Activ8Careers and the Job Shapers Network, discusses this on his website as “The Hard Truth About Leadership” when he says: “When it comes to being a real manager or leader, there are so many essential skills—like knowing how to motivate your team, make needed changes while minimizing pushback, and create accountabilities and reward systems to breed a healthy corporate culture. But few have learned how to develop the concepts of trust, open dialogue and being transparent as a leader. In short, it takes real training coupled with hands-on coaching and accountability from their directors to develop a skilled leader.”

Here are the four steps that Hults recommends:

1. Find Mentors Who Practice What They Preach
I have had the good fortune to follow some great leaders—starting with my parents and throughout my career as a medical practice manager and now as a consultant. Sometimes they came in the form of physicians with whom I have worked, employees, and vendors. Positioning yourself to be receptive to information is key.

2. Develop Accountabilities
We all need a level of accountability. Find an accountability partner—another manager, perhaps. This keeps us on track.

3. Seek Opportunities for Self-Development
Here I must make a shameless plug for the Greater St. Louis Medical Group Management Association. Meeting with other members and business partners is a great way to find resolution to issues and problems within the practice. Consider allowing your managers to participate. The only thing worse than losing great employees is keeping ones that don’t develop.

4. Mentor Others
Often, one of the best ways to develop yourself is helping others grow. A goal of a leader should be giving back. In doing so, you complete the cycle of true leadership. You will get back as much as you invest and usually more. Now, in the words of the founders of Intel: “Don’t be encumbered by the past—go and do something wonderful.”