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Despite the long history of fighting for gender equality, male leaders still dominate in the majority of fields. Women that hold key positions in business and politics are few in number. However, the numerous gender studies have proven that the present inequality has nothing to do with the inborn aptitude of women to become good leaders. The world needs more examples of successful and inspiring women, and one of them is Jeanette Clough, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Mount Auburn Hospital, who managed to overcome the crisis in this hospital and turn it into one of the most prosperous medical institutions of the state.
Women and Leadership
Jeanette Clough joined the team of Mount Auburn Hospital in 1998 when it was in highly indebted position. Soon after she took on the leadership, some members of the executive management left, making the situation even more challenging. However, in only two years Clough managed to make the institution break even, and in another four years its earnings came up to 7 million dollars (Morgan Roberts & Kanji, 2006). The results of several gender studies, examining women in leadership positions, discovered that they attach great importance to communication within the staff, partnership, and caring. Modern female directors tend to be more democratic and lay less emphasis on subordination. Such priorities can be seen in Clough’s philosophy regarding team building. The relationship among co-workers rests upon equality and mutual respect. Clough is trying to maintain the friendly atmosphere, she knows everyone by name and listens to the advice of her employees. She is certain that such strategy encourages people to share their ideas on various issues. The staff members feel free to approach Jeanette if something went wrong and requires her attention.
Unlike most male leaders, women are often more concentrated on the work process, rather than on achieving goals. Above all, Clough focuses on quality and accessibility of medical services, and for that, she wants to remove all potential distractions such as competitiveness and race for power. All the doctors in Mount Auburn are equally appreciated and supported.
Leadership Strategy of Jeanette Clough
A well thought strategy allowed Jeanette Clough to build a new successful senior management team and make the series of efficient decisions for the further prosperity of the hospital. She entered a contract with Harvard Medical School, which turned the hospital into a powerful teaching healthcare unit. She gained a number of connections outside the hospital and reorganized the departments to make them profitable. Recently Clough has started an expansion program which led to some resentment from a local community. However, she proved herself to be a good negotiator and reached a consensus with public. Clough has never pursued only her own needs and stated that the hospital has to be big enough to provide a financial growth, but small enough to remain convenient to the patients and the neighborhood.
Women like Jeanette Clough give me a powerful inspiration and faith in my abilities. My family started to notice my leader potential since I was a child, yet I was growing up in the environment, where female employees mostly chose to assist someone, rather than to be in charge. Today I am happy to see more and more young women studying business and political science, participating in leadership training and internships, and launching their own projects. The story of Jeanette Clough is evidence that female leadership style may be different but not less effective. Both men and women, who have a proper educational background, relevant skills and experience have the potential of becoming strong and successful leaders.
Morgan Roberts, L., & Kanji, A. (2006). Jeanette Clough at Mount Auburn Hospital. Harvard Business School Case 9-406-068.