66: Leaders With Heart Show Up And Speak Up

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Dr. Jandell Allen-Davis, President and CEO of Craig Hospital in Colorado about her refreshing perspective on connection and bringing her whole self to the workplace, her leadership fumbles and the unlikely, but likely journey she is on in her leadership.

Key takeaways:

  • Our journey, whether smooth or bumpy, puts us where we are supposed to be.
  • Your people want to see you and be seen.
  • Touching customers and employees as a CEO deepens purpose and refreshes you in the mission.
  • Better to show up and speak up.
  • Leaders need to have a healthy narcissism.
  • Trust the wisdom of your team.
  • People have something to contribute. Don’t shut people out and down.
  • Focus on the work and the people I am responsible for.
  • It’s important to speak truth to power.
  • Don’t worry about being a king or queen, because people are always watching.
  • Let the forces of the water move you.

This is Heather’s Top 3 pick so far! Listen and learn!

Jandel Allen-Davis, M.D believes health care will improve when all the primary stakeholder groups – clinicians, patients, elected officials, community leaders and employers – can collaborate effectively to put the patient at the center. She is the CEO and president of Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital that exclusively specializes in the neuro-rehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

Prior to that, she did service for Kaiser Permanente Colorado, which included associate medical director of external relations for the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, and regional director of patient safety and physician chief of the Wheat Ridge Medical Offices. Dr. Allen-Davis was elected to the Colorado Permanente Medical Group Board of Directors in 1998 and chaired the board in her final year. She was also the vice president of government, external relations and research from 2009-2018.

A graduate of Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School, Dr. Allen-Davis completed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Allen-Davis is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and was in active practice for 25 years. 

She is married to a Dartmouth College graduate, Anthony Davis (’82), and they have two children, one of whom graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009. She enjoys gardening and hiking and is a fiber artist whose work has been displayed in several galleries over the years.

Healthy Workplaces

It is very gratifying to be in a place where I can bring my full self to work. I am in a place filled with this whole-hearted expression of who I am, where I don’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed.

I feel like all of these opportunities to lead and create teams, as well as develop people as individuals, has put me at this position where I can leverage, exercise and use all the stuff made available to me to learn and to do some victories.

Over all of our careers, we’ve had misfortunes, or the less-than-great fortunes of working for leaders who don’t necessarily bring their full selves in. But, its impact on me was I was able to think about how I want to show up.

The real, buttoned-up, closed leaders who aren’t warm and don’t feel accessible, causes all of us around them to clam up too. It creates a space that is not psychologically safe and healthy.

If you don’t feel psychologically safe, you’re not going to speak up. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Healthy Narcissism

Being who you are is really essential in having healthy workplaces. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Years ago, I have learned that there is a healthy form of narcissism. 

I have practiced for 25 and a half years and I realized, “What do you think it takes as people to actually take a scalpel or a knife and cut somebody, which is what I did as part of my work?”

So, there’s a sense of healthy narcissism, which is the confidence that you’ve got the skills

But also, it’s a level of confidence that you also are self-aware enough to know when you need to learn something, when you need to lean on the wisdom of the teams, when you need to lean on to the wisdom of a patient and their families to get things done. That’s the healthy part of leadership.

There’s ego in it but the fun part is, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to speak less

Through speaking less, I got an opportunity to see the little seeds or ideas I might have planted to my people start to take root. In fact, they’re always better than anything I ever could have come up with.

Make Better Systems

I have always wanted to be part of making systems better. 

I want to be included in opportunities, exposures and experiences that provide chances to make change and to make systems better.

I hope to always be committed to lifelong learning, new adventures and see where the day goes.

People want to see us and they want us to see them, too. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I got an email from someone who let me know that we had a new patient in the hospital and I went up just to be able to hug that patient’s mother and let her know I was here. I felt like, “I could do this everyday!” 

What I don’t think our customers realize, because not all our workplaces are this healthy, is that we get more out of what we get to do and service to them, than they get from us. That’s a win-win.

If you are so focused on where you want to get to, you are missing the opportunity to soak in the experiences to learn and grow. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
I have always been happy to live in a stream and I just let the forces of the water pull me on. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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