Incorporated in the year 1999, MedAssets Inc. provides technological solutions for healthcare organizations. The company has its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, and specializes in financial management of healthcare systems with latest software. MedAssets provides services and solutions for both revenue cycle management as well as spend management. With its revenue cycle management, MedAssets’ clients are able to manage prices, claims, recovery of revenues, accounts receivable, etc. The spend management services and products offered by MedAssets support healthcare systems and providers in management of their expenditures (“MedAssets Inc.,” 2010).
Thus, solutions and services provided by MedAssets promise to financially strengthen healthcare systems and hospitals by improving their cash flow and operating margins . Enter Shay Miller, Intern at MedAssets, Inc. Today, MedAssets serves approximately 3300 hospitals, 125 healthcare systems, and 40000 non-acute healthcare providers . When Shay Miller joined MedAssets as an intern – through IMaCS, an Accuro Healthcare Solutions company – MedAssets was more focused on producing the best quality software solutions for its potential clients than expanding its client base.
According to Miller, this philosophy has not changed at MedAssets. In fact, Miller is proud of this aspect of MedAsset’s organizational culture . Miller’s responsibilities at IMaCS gave her the job title of Account Representative back in 2002. MedAssets was seeking bright and motivated college graduates at the time. Miller was a fresh graduate from Texas State University, San Marcos, with the kind of enthusiasm required by a new company. She was looking for a stable job after obtaining her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Administration at the time.
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But, she had no idea that she would be spending at least eight years with MedAssets from that point onwards. Recently, Miller obtained a Certificate of Management from the University of Texas at Dallas (S. Miller). For MedAssets, however, this qualification was not necessary, as Miller had won hearts from the very beginning of her career with the company.
A Model of Growth With her charming looks and golden hair, Miller became a success throughout the company. She became a Senior Account Manager at IMaCS before she was given the same job at Accuro Healthcare Solutions. She went on to become a Production Issue Coordinator at Accuro Healthcare Solutions soon after. She also served as a Client Services Manager at Accuro Healthcare Solutions before her on-the-job training was complete enough for her to be promoted to the position of Director, Solution Services at Accuro Healthcare Solutions. Today, she is Director, Solution Services at MedAssets, and still humble enough to be considered a friend by her subordinates who perceive her as a model, for they too would like to enjoy professional growth like Miller (S. Miller).
A passionate learner and leader, Miller has mastered the following at MedAssets: Strategic Planning and Execution; Team Building, Management and Development; Problem Identification and Resolution; Project Management; Budget Creation and Control; SLA Creation and Implementation; Vendor Selection and Negotiation; Metrics Implementation; Policy and Procedure Development; and Logistics/ Office Integration. What is more, despite the fact that she has countless responsibilities at MedAssets now, Miller believes that she is going to continue learning new skills for the simple reason that research and development never stop at her company.
Apparently, her responsibilities do not stress her out at all, which is how she keeps a healthy work-life balance. Miller is an avid reader to boot, and believes that leaders are readers, as they must be knowledgeable enough to act as role models for those that expect them to take their responsibilities seriously . Characteristics of a Leader In her own words, Miller is a “hyper-organized” and “high-energy” individual with an analytical mind. She believes that she is best at developing new departments, including hiring, and creating and implementing new proceduries and policies.
Miller also takes pride in the fact that she has effectively implemented revenue cycle software for healthcare providers. She believes that she excels in project management. Her special qualities that help her through her work day in day out include determination and composure in the face of timelines . However, Miller does not perceive herself as a great leader “thus far”. Although she has achieved greatness in the healthcare profession, having mastered technological, organizational and people skills at MedAssets, Inc. , she believes that she can still do better.
Thus, she appears as a Level 5 leader as described by Collins (2001). The author describes “Level 5 leaders” as “a study in duality: modest and willful, humble and fearless” (Collins, 22). When asked whether she agrees that she is a Level 5 leader, Miller states that she has learned much more from Covey (1989) instead (S. Miller). In fact, Miller “relished” Covey’s book of personal growth, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, and would recommend it to all professionals, from Account Representatives to Directors (S. Miller).
The following are the seven habits of highly effective people that Miller has practiced and recommends for leaders: Highly effective people are proactive, that is, they control their individual responses instead of being entirely influenced by the outside world; They bear in mind their goals and destinations they long to reach; They have mastered the art and science of personal management, including time management, as they prioritize their goals and activities with the end in mind; They want others to be equally successful as themselves; They are empathetic masters of interpersonal skills; They respect and tolerate differences so as to achieve higher goals through teamwork; and They continually work to maintain perfect health and balance (Covey).
Miller’s Recommendations for Leaders
A successful leader is one who leads the organization toward unity and productivity. He or she unites members of the organization around a mutual goal and generates increased productivity (“Guide to Managing Human Resources,” 2008). According to Miller, the major responsibilities of a leader include the following: identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, increasing efficiency, improving interaction among members of the organization, reducing levels of stress in the workplace, and increasing trust among organizational members. She further states that there are skills and strategies required to accomplish these tasks (S. Miller). It is most essential for the leader to possess people skills and be committed to the establishment of an approach that brings all organizational members together for the accomplishment of organizational goals.
As Voight & Callaghan (2001) state that “open/honest communication” is necessary for the effectiveness of a team, the successful leader is he or she who possesses excellent communication skills to boot . After all, the leader must not only be able to negotiate with senior-most members of the organization to ensure that his or her followers have sufficient resources for the tasks at hand, but also provide feedback to the latter on a regular basis. Hence, a leader with high emotional intelligence must necessarily be successful, as emotional intelligence is related to one’s ability to have effective interpersonal relations, including successful communication. Self-awareness is one of the components of emotional intelligence.
In other words, it is possible for a leader to increase his or her emotional intelligence by increasing self-awareness (S. Miller). According to Scott (2005), self-awareness is at the center of professional learning and development, as it helps people to easily manage their own behavior apart from their colleagues whilst fulfilling the goals of the organization. As a matter of fact, self-awareness lies at the very core of successful leadership (S. Miller). Thus, Scott recommends the Myers Briggs personality type indicator (MBTI) in addition to the 16PF – two of the many psychometric tools employed in the assessment of one’s interests, talents, and skills. Such psychometric tests are known to help in self-reflection.
Feedback from a skilled practitioner who administers these tests is sure to help the individual gain more insights about his or her behavior. In order to gather additional knowledge about their leadership styles, leaders may even consider requesting “multi-sourced feedback” if not a “full-blown 360-degree appraisal” (Scott). Miller enjoys taking such tests on a regular basis. With high emotional intelligence, a leader is expected to function successfully regardless of stress. Curtin (2005) advises leaders who are dealing with pressure to learn to lead themselves under pressure before they can hope to effectively lead others.
The following are three of the most significant tips for leaders to bear in mind when facing pressure on the job: They must not hurt themselves and others on the physical, psychological and emotional levels; They must take good care of themselves so that they are in a position to take good care of others; and No matter how difficult the circumstances are, leaders must use their experiences as opportunities for growth and learning (Curtin). Apart from the skill of leading under pressure, a successful leader must possess the ability to manage conflicts among his or her followers (S. Miller). According to Springer (2006), “Fostering conflict to enhance decision quality while simultaneously building consensus requires the stimulation of debate, keeping conflict constructive, insuring that the process is fair and legitimate and being able to reach closure. ” To put it another way, it is best for the leader to nurture conflict instead of preventing it, e. g. by way of role playing (Springer). After all, the leader could even encourage creativity thus.
Miller is of the opinion that it is healthy for organizations to promote creativity, especially companies such as MedAssets, dedicated to technological innovation (S. Miller). Finally, the leader must be able to keep his or her followers motivated to achieve set goals (S. Miller). Welch & Welch (2007) describe money, “interesting work,” and “enjoyable co-workers” as “no-brainers” as far as employee motivation is concerned. Recognition, too, is a very important motivator. Whenever a follower does a good job, the leader should make a public announcement. Awards should also be handed out, and the leader should mention the productive effort of the successful follower whenever there is an opportunity. In point of fact, the success of employees must be celebrated by their organizations (Welch & Welch).
Another way of motivating followers is for leaders to ensure that organizational missions are spelled out. In fact, the mission of every task must be explained to organizational members in simple terms (Welch & Welch). Moreover, Welch & Welch advise leaders to motivate their followers by making them feel that although they have reached the top, they are still climbing the mountain of success. The authors explain this as a balance between “achievement and challenge” (Welch & Welch). Miller’s Future as a Leader Although she described various skills required for a successful leadership position, Miller refused to share her opinion about strategies that work best, for example, methods for managing conflicts and motivating followers.
After all, she has firm faith in the Contingency Theory, that is, “It depends”.Unsurprisingly, she refers to herself as a follower of the “situational leadership model,” which requires leaders to change their leadership styles in different situations (S. Miller). When informed that she appears as a charismatic leader, Miller smiles and states that she is certain that leaders must possess innate leadership qualities, that is, “leaders are born rather than made” (S. Miller). Charismatic leaders have personal magnetism that naturally helps to influence people. Even though Miller seems to possess charisma, her work ethic makes her appear as a Level 5 leader to boot. After all, Miller is so focused on improving the quality of her work at all times that she cannot even envision her successful future! When asked about her professional goals, she merely smiles and says, “It depends”.
- Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
- Covey, S. R. (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
- Curtin, L. (2005, Jan 1). Managing yourself under pressure. Journal for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine. Guide to Managing Human Resources. (2008, Jun 6). Human Resources, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://hrweb. berkeley. edu/guide/teams. htm.
- MedAssets Inc. (2010, May 1). Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://investing. businessweek. com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot. asp? ticker=MDAS:US.
- Our Mission and Values. (2010). MedAssets. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www. medassets. com/AboutUs/Pages/OurMissionandValues. aspx.
- Scott, B. (2005, May 17). How to develop your self-awareness. Personnel Today. Voight, M. , & Callaghan, J. (2001). A Team Building Intervention Program: Application and Evaluation with Two University Soccer Teams. Journal of Sport Behavior, vol. 24.
- Welch, J. , & Welch, S. (2007, Sep 17). Keeping your people pumped. Business Week Online.
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