It’s all about YOU.

By Connie Ziccarelli, COO

“Leadership is not something that you do to people. It’s something you do with people.” —Ken Blanchard

Your team could be one strong or 100 strong, but whatever the number of people you lead, leading depends on you. Effective leadership must be based on a few solid principles. A combination of integrity, cohesiveness, and praise are the stepping stones to creating a high-performing team.

First and foremost, your leadership walk must match your talk. Integrity is the first stone to lay down. If your team cannot trust your words, they won’t rely on your actions. As a leader, you must set the values of your organization and then demonstrate them in your daily actions. Words aren’t followed; examples are followed. Say what you are going to do, then do it. Integrity builds your path with a foundation of trust. With courage and strong convictions, you and your team can begin a journey together.

Next comes cohesiveness—create an environment that gives each member a stake in the game or the outcome. Having a cohesive team means that each person is looking out for their teammates as well as the vision you have set before them. Communication is critical. Each member must have some contribution to the goal, and you must share information about the company. To unleash your team’s excitement, share with them information that will make a difference. If you trust them to work for you, trust them with the confidential information about the business. You may be amazed with the ideas that come from your team on how to solve a problem or make your service better. Create a culture of partnership that allows each member to contribute and have a say in the process. People don’t support what they don’t help create.

Saying thank you is not enough. Giving praise and affirmations about their contributions will have a powerful effect. Finding the goodness in others puts the spotlight on what is going right and redirects what may need to be tweaked. No one likes criticism, but your discussion does not have to be all negative. When you discuss what needs to be corrected, go at it in a different way: First, open up with what they are doing very well, then discuss what needs to be corrected and how to solve it together, and close with reinforcing what they mean to the team and the organization. Give your team the example of seeing the good in others and watch them find the good in you and your business.

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These three principles sound like common sense and should come as second nature. But they are not; leadership is a learned skill. Leaders are not born; they develop through much trial and error. Effective leadership is a two-way street; it starts with you and the foundation you build with your team, and then the team responds with results, which gives you more courage to lead, creating a cycle that gets stronger and stronger with each team success. Daily discipline with your integrity, communication for effective cohesiveness, and your willingness to find good in others and provide praise is your responsibility as their leader. You have the awesome role of leading others to a place they are supposed to be.

Not only will your team feel the rewards of your leadership efforts, so will your customers. Customers/patients feel the energy from a practice that has engaged and empowered staff. That kind of energy creates a feeling of caring and of wellness that promotes healing. Taking care of both your customers and team, you will be leading your way to being the provider of choice and the employer of choice in your community.

Create your leadership path with the stepping stones of integrity, cohesiveness, and praise. Work daily on the habits that will allow you to mobilize a high-performing team, then step back and give your team room to do what you have outlined for the journey. Be there to guide and assist them while you are earning their respect and trust every day. Leadership is not for the weak but for the strong of character and for someone who wants the best for each member of the team.

Inspiration for these concepts comes from the book The Leadership Pill: The Missing Ingredient in Motivating People Today, by Ken Blanchard and Marc Muchnick.


Connie Ziccarelli, is the chairperson of the PPS Administrator’s Council. She is also the cofounder, principal, and chief operations officer of Rehab Management Solutions in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, where she manages, grows, owns, and operates a nationwide network of private practice physical therapy clinics