Magazine article Addiction Professional

Tomorrow's Leaders Need Mentoring

Magazine article Addiction Professional

Tomorrow's Leaders Need Mentoring

Article excerpt

For the past few years at the annual conference of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), there has been a lot of discussion about the future of the treatment industry. Some of the most important questions have included: "Where is the next generation of leaders in the industry? What's going to happen as the 'old guard' retires? Who is going to continue the work of helping people battle the disease of addiction as we lose some of the great experts?"

Maybe the important question is not where the next generation of leaders is, but what industry experts are doing today to help develop new executive directors, clinical directors and directors of business development. Has much time and thought been given to mentoring this next generation? More than likely, our future leaders are currently in the trenches, facilitating groups, developing marketing relationships, answering intake calls or working in administration.

There are some incredibly bright, dedicated and hard-working young people in this field with tremendous potential. Quite possibly, the next CEO or clinical director currently resides just down the hall from your office. The question is: What can management do to help mentor this next generation, and how can an ambitious, smart employee find someone to help further his/her career?

As president of a consulting company that does a great deal of executive recruitment in the addiction treatment field, I am constantly on the lookout for true potential, for someone with the ability and the ambition to lead. What I'm finding is a lack of management training from within organizations or a lack of assertiveness on the part of employees to seek specific training.

In graduate school, clinicians don't learn business skills, don't take classes in basic marketing principles, and don't learn to develop and manage a yearly budget. On the other hand, some administrators don't understand the work and years of training that go into becoming a clinician. Too often, there is a lack of understanding on both sides of the field. In executive recruiting, finding someone who has both strong clinical and business expertise is like striking gold. It's what we look for. There's clinical director, executive director, or even CEO potential in that combination.

A plan for facilities

How can treatment facilities and corporations develop future leaders? Here are a few ideas:

* Identify employees who often go beyond the call of duty. Look for those who will step in and help out, even if it isn't "their job"--those who are passionate about their work and want to learn as much as they can. …

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