Many up and coming leaders in the behavioral health specialty have advanced in the field after their own experiences in recovery. However, many of those same individuals can become overwhelmed when they don’t have the right skills to lead, Larry Moliterno, president and CEO of Meridian Healthcare, said at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders in Baltimore.
“Most people in our field have a clinical background but no management background,” he said.
Meridian has developed a leadership academy that not only helps employees develop skills but also helps managers identify individuals who might be a good fit for future advancement. Succession planning can be part of the overall picture.
Employees who resign often leave because they don’t sense they have opportunities for advancement, he said. Structured leadership training could change that.
“We lose good people because we don’t let them know they are valued and there are growth opportunities for them,” Moliterno said.
Renee Amacher, director of marketing for Meridian Healthcare, teaches employees in the academy about branding and fundraising. For example, participants might plan a fictitious fundraising event as part of the training and learn how to think through project planning, right down to the smallest details. Exercises can also help employees learn more about their own organization.
“Consider as an activity preparing elevator speeches where you have 30 seconds to one minute to tell the organization’s story,” she says.
Meridian’s academy lasts for several days, and employees receive small incentives to complete the training. According to Moliterno, the process allows the organization to identify future leaders and help redirect individuals who might currently be in the wrong position.