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For physicians, leadership can provide an opportunity to strengthen their organizations and positively impact the lives of thousands of people.
At the start of one’s career, an individual typically works in a technical area and distinguishes himself or herself through technical expertise, outcomes, and innovation.
For example, a cardiac surgeon may distinguish himself or herself on successful outcomes, a low mortality rate, and the introduction of new procedures.
Positioning the organization for success in a rapidly changing environment with fast-moving competitors is one of the primary responsibilities of the senior strategic leader.
Learning, Improving, and Practicing Leadership Skills It is important to recognize that leadership skills, like any other type of skill, can be learned and improved.
Leadership is an oft-used and sometimes nebulous term, particularly in the field of health care.
Although leadership is not traditionally taught in medical schools, physicians possess many qualities that are needed to excel at leadership.Team-building, empowerment, and trust with a willingness to listen to suggestions with an open mind are signs of prescient leadership.Leadership During Constant Change Because organizations and their environments constantly change, one of the core responsibilities of leaders is initiating and managing the internal changes necessary to adapt to changing circumstances.A ship can be used as a conceptual model to illustrate several concepts related to organizational behavior and leadership.In this model, the organization may be conceived of as a ship carrying its payload (products or services) to its future destination (vision) through waters (the competitive environment) that at times may be still and at other times may be very choppy (uncertainty, decreasing reimbursements) or may even have icebergs (massive changes in the regulatory environment).These traits include excellent communication skills, empathy and emotional intelligence, team-building skills, an understanding of the competitive landscape, strategic thinking, and courage, although this list is by no means exhaustive.Cultivating Leadership Skills Over Time Leadership skills are grown over time in a progressive fashion.It is important to recognize that leadership skills, like any other type of skill, can be learned and improved….More challenging, however, is the development of the personal attributes that are necessary for effective leadership.” The next level of leadership is operational.A senior leader will be required to understand the competitive environment, macroeconomic trends affecting the practice of medicine, and upcoming regulatory changes.In addition, a strategic leader will need to keep a constant eye on the competition.