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3 habits of highly effective healthcare leaders

Healthcare organizations are rife with challenges and overcoming these difficulties is par for the course for industry leaders. Every day brings a new test of their skills, creativity and capabilities.

During the American College of Healthcare Executives' (ACHE) 2015 Congress experts shared habits and characteristics that they believe exceptional leaders share. Here are three:

They seek out challenges: The best leaders not only rise to the challenge, but they actively seek out and relish difficult projects. Improving a practice can be tough work and there are often problems that aren't apparent unless you're really willing to dig deep. Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, shared with the ACHE her achievements at Henry Ford, which grew even amid Detroit's shrinking population. Her health system has driven social and economic revitalization in the area through her dedication to community outreach and partnerships. "It's important to champion the communities we serve," Schlichting said.

They promote innovation: Getting ahead of the game is a challenge for anyone but it should be a goal for healthcare leaders, who must be on the lookout for the next great idea. Mary Starmann-Harrison, CEO of Hospital Sisters Health System in Wisconsin and Illinois told FierceHealthCare that leaders should be unafraid to adapt other industry's best practices to meet their own needs. Standing apart from the crowd might be necessary in some cases, but if it doesn't help you provide better care and achieve positive outcomes it's useless. "There's a lot of innovation in other industries that we can learn from," Starman-Harrison added.

They are transparent and fair: Healthcare success balances on long-term, trusting relationships between hospitals, clinicians and the communities they serve. The best way to foster positive influence is to be consistently transparent and fair. Partnering with services like Patient Approved, where patients can leave real-time feedback regarding the care they received at a practice, can show that a hospital is dedicated to being clear about its shortcomings and working on improving itself.