Leaders Establish the Tone for Their Teams (Podcast)

Cleveland Clinic Lutheran Hospital chief aims for positivity and calm

Timothy Barnett, MD

As President of Cleveland Clinic Lutheran Hospital, Timothy Barnett, MD, employs a lesson he learned as a surgeon: The leader in any room sets the tone for the team.


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“People look to you as a leader, whether it be by title or by running a meeting or organizing a section meeting,” says Dr. Barnett. “So when I go into a meeting now as a hospital president, I’m thinking to myself, ‘There are going to be people watching you, so are you going to institute calm or are you going to institute chaos? Are you going to bring a positive vision or are you going to bring sarcasm and blaming and complaining?’”

In a discussion with Brian Bolwell, MD, for the “Beyond Leadership” podcast, Dr. Barnett addresses this issue as well as the importance of relying on subject matter experts and the role of regional hospitals to their local communities.

Podcast excerpt

Dr. Bolwell: Many people involved in healthcare are well aware of all of the metrics that are very important to the practice of medicine right now, which is kind of an inward-looking thing, and making sure that operations are going well and quality and safety are going well. But the importance of a local hospital to the community is a pretty big deal.

Dr. Barnett: It is. And when you work with the stakeholders and you talk to our local citizens, what Lutheran Hospital means to its community, the fact that it has been a beacon in this neighborhood through changing times over the last century plus, this is where people come for their healthcare. As social determinants become more challenging, they’re also accessing hospitals for other things like food insecurity, for medical needs, and for social needs. That’s very important for us to really be connected to our local community to make sure that we’re serving them the best way possible.

Dr. Bolwell: Give us an example of that.

Dr. Barnett: Sure. So, what we try and do here at Lutheran Hospital and other hospitals in our system that are deeply rooted in the community is we have annual community health fairs. This is a way for us to open our hospital doors and allow the community to come in and access areas of healthcare that they may not be able to do historically. So, when we do this, we can offer screening mammograms, blood screening work, and other exams, retinal exams to look for diabetes and skin changes. Just being able to offer that open door policy to our community and make sure that we’re offering those types of screening opportunities for the patients is very important.


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