Steve Flatt, CEO, National HealthCare Corporation

Last week, Leadership Health Care (LHC) members attended an Executive Briefing series presentation by Steve Flatt, CEO of National Healthcare Corporation (NHC), the oldest publicly traded senior care company in the country. Flatt shared with the audience some thoughts on the current state of health care, his career transition from education and his philosophy around leadership.

During his comments, Flatt acknowledged that while not everything about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is perfect, the implementation of it back in 2010 has had at least one positive impact on the industry.

“The ACA made everyone more responsible for the care of the patient along the continuum,” said Flatt. “This is a good thing. It forced the industry to stop operating in silos and to work together to provide the best possible care to our patients.”

He went on to discuss his transition from working in the field of education for most of his career to moving into health care when he joined NHC in 2005. When he was hired at NHC, the company was purposefully looking outside the industry to fill leadership positions in hopes of bringing a different perspective to the company.

“As I see it, the challenges we faced in education pale in comparison to the challenges we face in health care,” said Flatt. “As I considered the last phase of my career, working in health care presented an intriguing opportunity to try to address some of these challenges.”

Flatt then shared his thoughts around corporate leadership and what he calls the “building blocks of leadership.” According to him, the basic building blocks of leadership include commitment, competence, character and connection. Once those areas are established, one can build upon them with vision, communication and courage. The next level is 360 degree awareness and what he calls self-leadership, or emotional intelligence.

“When it comes to leadership, I find that emotional intelligence, or EQ, is more important than IQ,” said Flatt. “Being aware of what’s going on at all levels of your organization and having an emotional awareness are critical pieces of the leadership puzzle.”

Finally, the top level of leadership is inspiration, which Flatt believes is what we all want to achieve in an organization or position of leadership. He emphasized that only once the other levels of leadership are achieved can you actually inspire others.

“There are no shortcuts to leadership,” said Flatt. “You can’t inspire people if you don’t have the other aspects of leadership firmly in place first.”

Click here to view Flatt’s visual representation of the leadership pyramid.

This executive briefing was part of ongoing programming for the Council’s Leadership Health Care (LHC) initiative, offering members insight from national industry leaders in an interactive setting. For more information about LHC, visit www.leadershiphealthcare.com.