Practical and affordable ways to cultivate leadership in your organization

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2010 Mar-Apr;16(2):156-61. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181c8cb63.


Leadership can be cultivated through the intentional actions of managers and others in public health organizations. This article provides a rationale for taking innovative and proactive steps to build leadership, discusses four general strategies for doing so, and presents seven practical, creative, and affordable actions that can have a positive influence on efforts to cultivate leadership qualities in the public health workforce. Each action is illustrated with an actual contemporary example from a local public health agency. The actions include providing formal or informal coaching/mentoring opportunities; assigning staff to lead new projects or collaborations, projects outside their disciplines, projects that cause growth in their information technology capacity, or orphan or struggling projects; facilitating a book club; and institutionalizing reflection. The best way to ensure that effective leadership is available when the organization needs it is to intentionally develop it through an ongoing process. Leadership growth can be supported during the ordinary course of business in a public health organization through thoughtful challenges, sharing ideas and experiences, and especially through the example set by managers and those in positions of authority.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Inservice Training
  • Leadership*
  • Mentors
  • Organizational Culture
  • Public Health Administration / methods*
  • Staff Development
  • United States