Management styles often fall into different categories, but at the end of the day, the goal of most forward-thinking leaders is to get everyone rowing the boat in the same direction – towards achieving common goals. As an Executive within the Rx Medical organization (an independent sales agent for approximately 40+ medical device manufacturers, including Fortune 500 medical companies such as Zimmer Biomet, Orthofix and Breg), we offer medical support devices and services for neurosurgical and orthopedic physicians. This work is rewarding, but not always easy. Our family of businesses bring innovation and medical technology advancements to the clients we serve. Together with other leaders on our staff, we strive to evoke a spirit of responsive leadership to guide employees towards achieving next level outcomes.

Within our family of healthcare services, we believe in responsive leadership. Responsive leaders concentrate primarily on the people within their business. Instead of imposing personal views, responsive leaders create a shared vision. They diagnose what the company needs and work with colleagues on developing common strategies for addressing those needs. In short, responsive leaders set the tone for optimal behavior daily.

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The Ripple Effect

When employees emulate a responsive leaders’ lead, the ripple effect takes place which helps companies move the needle forward. When the ripple effect takes hold, responsive leaders have the potential to discover what their organization needs and work with their colleagues to create common ground. Jackie Jenkins-Scott discusses the differences between “responsive” and “systematic” leadership in her book, The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership and offers seven “secrets” to responsive leadership shared below. 

The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership

Secret 1: Take Advantage of Opportunity

Responsive leaders select goals and strategies that will work best to achieve the possibilities they see ahead. They always look for and evaluate alternative paths. They exercise what Jenkins-Scott refers to as the “Big 4” leadership attributes (curiosity, humility, empathy, and resilience).

Secret 2: Lead with Heart

You need more than know-how and courage to lead in troubled times. You need heart. Outstanding leaders draw from intellect and their emotions. Your humility and your empathy will encourage you to lead with your heart. In an institutional setting, vulnerability strengthens your resilience and curiosity.

Secret 3: Keep Your Bags Packed

Changes in your external environment could impair your ability to act as you see best and could prompt you to leave your current leadership assignment quickly. You may have helped bring about positive change in the organization in the past, but you might begin to recognize obstacles that could prevent you functioning properly in the future. You may feel under pressure to abandon or modify your values. At that point, even if you think everyone at the company adores you, keep your eyes open for shifts related to money and power that could fuel a movement to oust you.

Secret 4: Stay on Point

Reduce what you intend to say to one significant thought when in the middle of change. Strategize how and where to use that message when managing risk. You may have to state it repeatedly before your audience completely grasps new concepts but keep consistently communicating core points.

Secret 5: Move Your Opposition 

You can capture energy by learning and understanding the concerns of those who oppose you. If people doubt you, giving them logical arguments seldom helps. Opponents are more likely to respond to emotion so put your heart into communication. Take what you like, leave the rest.

Secret 6: Value Interconnectedness

Leaders achieve better results when they use awareness and empathy as tools in the workplace to inspire others. When leaders pay more attention to merit, they often avoid challenges. Value people for their knowledge and unique contributions. 

Secret 7: Recover Quickly

If you want to take risks, you must polish your ability to deal with setbacks. To preserve your flexibility and resilience, don’t seek to control people, work with them for the betterment of the organization. 

Leadership Challenge: What additional “secrets” would you add to these seven suggestions for responsive leadership?

Brandon Rouse leads a diverse and growing team of professionals well-versed in the challenges facing healthcare today. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Brandon’s experienced team represents various technological and innovative medical solutions. ZB RX Medical and RX Medical are direct distributors of Zimmer Biomet.