As millennials and young adults under the age of 40 become the growing majority, it is critical to understand their leadership profile, the workplace challenges they face, and their strategies for overcoming obstacles as young leaders. Specifically, in healthcare, the rapidly changing industry presents internal and external environmental challenges that must be handled in the most professional and proficient manner to be an effective leader. As such, the purpose of this study is to gather best strategies and practices that healthcare leaders under the age of 40 can adopt for their respective organizations. There are 4 research questions that address the research study’s purpose: (a) strategies and practices employed by healthcare leaders under 40, (b) challenges faced by healthcare leaders under 40, (c) definition and measurement of leadership success and organizational performance, and (d) recommendations for young aspiring leaders. 15 healthcare leaders under the age of 40 participated in the research study and responded to 12 questions in a semi-structured interview format. The results of the phenomenological qualitative study yielded 62 themes. In particular, the following emerged as top themes with regard to strategies and practices: servant leadership, authentic leadership, transformational leadership, emotional intelligence. Challenges faced by healthcare leaders included regulatory changes, healthcare reform, competing priorities, managing financial and human capital, and managing change. In terms of managing resistance to change, a four-part framework was developed through the following themes: educate people on the change, engage people in the process, listen and empathize, build a guiding coalition. As for obstacles experienced by young leaders, themes included proving credibility, perceptions of youth, lack of experience or knowledge. 60% stated that their definition of leadership success would be based on team development and success, followed by organizational success, personal achievement, and reduced staff turnover. A high performing organization focused on quality, engaging the workforce, patient experience, cost savings, financial growth and stability, and community outreach. To measure and track organizational performance, key performance indicators, dashboards, and balance scorecards were mentioned. The research study wrapped up with advice for young aspiring leaders with emotional intelligence emerging as a top theme.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Generation Y -- Employment; Medical personnel -- Case studies; Servant leadership -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;