Healthcare leadership in action – 5 concepts to consider on your journey to becoming a better leader

Dina Baras CPSA, Medical Matters 2 Comments

In the October edition of Medical Matters, I introduced the concept of physician leadership and the importance of developing leadership skills. I noted physicians have an opportunity to significantly impact the health care system by becoming better leaders.

The hard part is knowing where to start.

There are many books and seminars to help you on this journey and I encourage everyone to learn from as many sources as possible. I also recommend you find a mentor to help you along the way.

I have been fortunate to learn about leadership from some exceptional people and over time, I’ve identified some common themes. I touched on some of these in my October column, but I wanted to share a little more with you.

  1. People are the key to success. If you look after your team, they will look after the rest.
    Fundamentally, people perform better when they feel supported and appreciated for the work they do. It’s a leader’s role to support the team and part of that is recognizing and supporting the great work they do.  Taking a little time to understand everyone’s role and providing the support they need will go a long way toward meeting the team’s goals
  2. Leadership is about improving the performance of the team you lead and the team you’re a part of.
    In a previous Messenger, I talked about the positive and negative impact people can have on team performance, but I did not fully explore the concept of the greater team. Just like no physician is completely isolated from the healthcare system, every team belongs to a larger group with a similar mission. Good leaders focus on the performance of the team they are a part of, and on the needs of the greater team they contribute to. Some would refer to this as good followership and it’s essential for overall success.
  3. Everyone on the team is essential to success.
    I can’t overstate this enough. There are no small or insignificant tasks. For example, in health care, every opportunity to connect and communicate with patients and staff is an opportunity to improve care, even if it is only about influencing perception. Those who greet patients and staff, those who look after the facilities, and those who manage the administration all have an impact on how people perceive the care they’re receiving and all need to be recognized as contributing members of the team.
  4. Understanding yourself, being yourself and trying to improve yourself are all essential to success as a leader.
    The people we lead are incredibly smart and can easily detect if someone is not being genuine, so always be yourself. It takes a strong person to identify their weaknesses and work to improve them, but the effort is always worth it in the end.
  5. Leadership is not about the position you hold, but the trust you earn.
    I’m sure all of you recognize trust is not something you get from a title or a position. Building trust is a slow process, and it can be eroded in an instant. However, if you have the trust of those around you, they are far more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt during challenging times.

I believe these leadership principles can be applied at work and in many other aspects of life. It is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a starting point. I would love to hear your thoughts on leadership and any recommendation you may have for other leaders in health care.

I wish everyone the very best over this holiday season.


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Humiliated in High River

Hear! Hear!   I believe that physician office managers would benefit from leadership skills as well.  HH


Dear Dr. Scott:  I am JUST  🙂  support/clerical/office assistant staff in an 11 physician family practice… very much enjoyed your points above!   Apart from specializing in health care, physicians (our bosses) need good business sense and people sense (?possibly goes along with bedside manner).   Aside from my duties here, I also have a small business with three employees.  With a somewhat limited opportunity for self improvement courses and credits, I have found a lot of good advice from the following company.  I have purchased a few of their publications, many written by well known leadership speakers and motivators.  I have found them quite helpful with… Read more »