Music to my ears

September 11, 2017 | (39) Comments

“The key characteristics to look for when selecting people are a winning attitude and a strong work ethic.”

I am asked all the time, “Mark, how do you make decisions about picking new leaders? What are the characteristics you’re looking for?” Of course there are a lot of important things to look for when we’re selecting people to come here. Texas Children’s is a very special place, and every person who becomes part of our team and our family subsequently becomes critical to our mission. So we must be selective and thoughtful when choosing them.

There’s a lot of great potential when a person has a positive attitude and a strong work ethic to match. I’ve seen people succeed time and again because of these two qualities. Education is important, honesty and integrity, that’s a given. But a great attitude drives a passion for excellence, and a strong work ethic sees it through.

Staff and employees who possess this winning combination are always seeing the good in a situation and the possibility to do something greater. Dialysis technician Rudy Garza exemplifies this notion. Rudy joined Texas Children’s more than 20 years ago as part of the Materials Management Department. At the time, he was simply focused on securing health insurance. He and his wife were about to have their first child, and his band – albeit very successful – didn’t offer a health plan.

Little did Rudy know that his new gig and his old one would eventually come together. Throughout his career at Texas Children’s, Rudy always strived to become better at his job and do more than is asked of him. To get a position working closer with patients, he tapped into our tuition reimbursement program and earned his nurses aid certificate, which paved his way to becoming a dialysis technician in our Chronic Renal Dialysis Department.

Shortly after starting the position, Rudy’s enthusiasm for his job landed him an opportunity to volunteer at Camp Okawehna near Nashville, Tennessee. Texas Children’s clinical staff volunteers annually at this camp, which supports children with end-stage renal disease. Rudy suggested to camp organizers that he bring his band, Vital, to Camp Okawehna to play for the children. He’d kept the band alive for years by playing on the weekends. The camp goers loved the music so much that Rudy and his bandmates have now been going back to perform for more than 10 years.

In appreciation of Rudy’s dedication to the camp and to children with renal disease, leaders of Camp Okawehna inducted Rudy into the Camp Okawehna Hall of Fame last year. Rudy graciously accepted the honor, calling it a blessing.

I love that Rudy is such a hard worker with a can-do spirit. He has a knack for humbly seizing opportunities and turning them into something that helps him help others. He is a true asset to Texas Children’s, and we are happy to have him as a member of our family.

I’d like to hear from you … what key characteristics do you think makes someone a good leader and why?

Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the next four weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will highlight employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section of the blog post. 

In September, the Corporate Communications team will collect all of your comments and draw the names of 100 commenters to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.

So make sure you respond to the question at the end of

Mr. Wallace’s blog post to be entered to win!

Click here to watch a video about how Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are leading in patient care and on the football field every single day.

39 Responses to “Music to my ears”

  1. One key characteristic that makes someone a great leader is communication. It’s so important to have a leader that clearly describes their goals so that everyone can come together in order to accomplish our vision.

  2. For a department/unit or an organization to be successful it needs a good leader at the helm. You are one of the good leaders that I know of. Since you asked the question….
    I believe the key characteristics of a good leader are:
    1. A clearly stated and shared vision that the leader believes in and can speak passionately about to all the employees.
    2. Honest and Trustworthy – says and does what he/she promises. Says what he/she means and means what he/she says. Able to admit when he/she is wrong and not blame others for his/her own mistake.
    3. A good role model – actually practices what he/she preaches
    4. A good communicator and collaborator – listens well to positive and negative comments and able to receive and provide both positive and negative feedback. Able to bring people together to work towards a common goal.
    5. Charisma and the ability to inspire people to work hard and aspire to achieve higher than what is expected.
    6. Provides the necessary resources for the employees to be successful and achieve expected goal and outcomes.
    Thank You!

  3. Regina Wysocki

    The key characteristics that I think make someone a good leader include:
    *Actively listening and being present when interacting with your team
    *Asking clarifying questions of your team, so that you understand their perspectives
    *A willingness to mentor team members so they can grow in their own careers

  4. Sandra G Castillo

    I have know rudy since middle school, He has always been a very uplifting person always smiling and willing to lend a hand. As I opened up connect today and saw this and it put a smile on my face, because I didn’t know he and I are were a part of the same great workplace. Congratulations my friend if anyone deserves to be acknowledged it definitely is you.. Awesom job!!!!

  5. A good leader is one that strengthens their team by giving power away and empowering their team members to act. Also a good leader is also one that does what no one else wants to do and not simply taking the easy route.

  6. Patricia Rehal

    I believe the key characteristics of a true leader are as following.
    1. Possess a love for all people and has a passion to change things for the better.
    2. Celebrates the success of their colleagues and employees.
    3. Possesses strengths in empathy and emotional intelligence.
    4. Embraces horizontal leadership and picks the brain of colleagues and employees alike.

  7. Trechelle Sweed

    The key characteristics I think that makes someone a good leader is honesty, dedication, positivity,commitment, and creativity. I believe this because these are the people that others want to follow. They make good leaders because of their dedication and commitment to their company. Their creativity and positive attitude allows them to continue to shine in any situation. Honesty is just the icing on the cake.

  8. I believe the key characteristics of a true leader are:
    Compassion for others as well as your team. Don’t just do your job because you have too but, because you want too. love what you do!
    Great communication skills knowing how to communicate with your team in a professional way and level that they understand.
    Having a great work relationship with your team makes a stronger team as a unit.
    And one who acknowledges not only there own success but as well as there teams.

  9. Jaime Ramos

    Congrats to you Rudy, You’re An Awesome Person I Remember When I was A Patient There Your Positve Attitude Always Made The Environment Some Much Easier To Be In. Well Deserved My Friend. Stay Blessed.

  10. Angel Algecera RN

    Rudy, you’d inspire people for your commitment to work beyond your capabilities. It’s been a pleasure working with you and I thank you for letting me sing with your band, Vital, at the camp with renal patients, fund raising at Hard Rock Café and Unit party. You are so passionate, not only with your job but to your special effort to make someone, specially our dialysis patients, happy. Congratulations! you really deserve this recognition.

  11. Susy Soliz

    I have known Rudy since he was a kid. His faith and his family have always been a big part of his life. I am proud to know that he has accomplished so much in his life. We grew up together in church. Our parents are the backbone of our faith. Praise God for having such a great a faithful follower.

  12. Helen Currier

    I agree that the key characteristics that makes one a good leader are a winning attitude and a strong work ethic. A strong work ethic or initiative is a central value for the Renal team.

    Rudy’s band is a “hit” at Camp Okawehna because he engages both campers and counselors. Vital’s performance is always on Sunday night when we’ve barely been at camp for 24 hours. By the end of the evening, Rudy has engaged every camper by inviting them on stage in groups and individually. He sets the stage for a week-long therapeutic camping experience. Thanks Rudy, for being such a role model.

  13. Christine Youngblood

    I think there are several key characteristics that make someone a good leader. The following are a few of my thoughts on the most important key characteristics (not listed in order of priority). The first is knowledge of leadership theory, principles, and skills (even natural-born leaders must continue to learn leadership every day). Second is vision – the ability to envision a better state/situation/outcome/FUTURE. Third is momentum – the ability to create movement of our most valuable asset (people)…the kind of momentum that helps individuals joyfully align their personal mission with the organization’s mission. Fourth & Fifth are strategy development and execution – the ability to develop and execute strategic action plans that effectively address and facilitate achievement of the organization’s, mission, vision, goals, and objectives. The Sixth characteristic is – A desire to develop others into effective leaders. Succession planning is paramount to sustained organizational growth and stability.

    These are all great characteristics for leaders (or those that aspire to leadership) to have; however, I believe that the desire to serve must be a core element of every leader. Our organization is successful because we have so many leaders that do have this desire to serve and care for the children, families, communities and the organization.

  14. Missy Wilkerson

    Very inspirational story! Way to go Rudy! Which brings me to answer the question Mark asked, What are the key characteristics that make a good leader and why? My top 3 keys are this:
    1. be able to inspire your team to do better, be better and by setting that example that INSPIRES others to want to follow your example of showing our values and culture!
    2.Relatibility..leaders that make themselves approchable and relatible also inspire a team to be the best and most importantly love their work. If I know I can come to my leader with topics, concerns, ideas and just conversation it makes me feel valued!
    3. Integrity..doing the right thing and putting the patients first. When my leader shows me this it just commands respect, and that is a few keys for great leaders!

  15. Mary Lara

    Met Rudy yrs ago and instantly i knew the type of person he was passionate to his music and when i found out what his true profession was i said it couldn’t be any other way…..Congratulations Rudy great write up on u and u deserve it…..May God continue to bless you with so that u can continue to keep blessing and caring for these innocent children…..God Bless u…..

  16. Alicia Reza

    Way to go Rudy very well deserved I’ve known Rudy for many years always a smile on his face encourageble. When he found out my granddaughter has been in and out of Texas Child.Hosp. he offered a lending had in anything we needed that’s Rudy. Congratulations

  17. I love Rudy! I worked with him when he worked on 4 North/4 South and he is amazing!
    Rudy- thank you for being a positive role model and sharing your muscial talents with the children at camp! 🙂

  18. Karia Ford

    I think a good leader should have the ability to put their experience and training into ACTion! This simply means A-accountability C- communication and T- teamwork; the individual who accepts accountability for their actions will be able to communicate effectively with others and work well with others as part of any team. This type of ACTion will show and tell the characteristics of a good team leader, congrats Rudy Garza you are a ” class ACT! “

  19. sheila lopez

    Your posts are always so inspiring, I am proud that you helm this great ship of ours Mark!
    The characteristic that make a good leader are first and foremost demonstrate that which
    you want to see in your people. The adage teach a man to fish is the best adage in leadership.

  20. Alma Perez

    The key characteristics that I believe make a good leader are;
    Adaptability, A person in a leadership role more than often comes across unforeseen situation, and it is important to be able to adapt when times like those come up and make the best out of the issue.
    Compassion, Working with many people in one of the most diverse city in the US such as Houston most of the time our working family is a great melting pot of people from different backgrounds. It is important for a leader to be compassionate about our patients yes, but also to show compassion to the team. As many of us might be culturally sensitive to one particular thing but another might not. It is always important to keep everyone in mind while making decisions.
    Dedication, Nothing is better than leading by example. If a leader shows strong dedication to our day to day activities within our TCH department it is more likely for the rest of the team to follow in the leader’s footsteps and make a strong team overall.

  21. There are many good qualities that define great leadership. Aside from a good work ethic, dedication, accountability, integrity, and most importantly communication there is also the personal growth factor. I firmly believe that leadership must continually evolve to remain a good leader. One method that I have been taught in life is that each and every issue encountered delivers a potential for growth both as an orginization and an individual.
    Define – the issue or problem at hand
    Refine – the issue to deliver a solution
    Re-evaluate – the solution to determine if there was something that can be done differently that would deliver a more favorable solution.
    A tireless pursuit for growth and innovation is a hallmark characteristic of good leadership.

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