Our healthcare system in the US is at a crossroads. As a physician, you know firsthand about the opportunities, and the serious challenges related to care access, quality, cost containment and infrastructure. My mission is that you know how important you are to the success of medicine. Strong woman physician leaders are key to health care reform.
The good news is that today there are more women leaders than ever before. Diverse executive teams see better outcomes when innovative ideas are brought to the table.
Women are still underrepresented in leadership roles. Women represent just 26% of hospital CEO positions, and 21% of executive and board members roles. Women are better represented in lower levels of management, but that is not usually the level at which system-wide impact occurs. This slows down needed change in organizations, and continues obstacles like bias in hiring practices, lack of role models champions and leadership development.
Next week I have the privilege of speaking to Emergency Department women physicians from around the nation at the FixIt 2017 conference. We will explore the question:
“Women’s leadership needs to be valued and encouraged, but how do we move that forward?”
First: Identify What is Not Working.
- How well does the culture of healthcare support the development of women leaders?
- Do our organizational structures help or hinder the development of women leaders?
Second: We Need to Find Better Ways.
- What needs to shift for a health care reform?
- What is one thing my organization could do that would make a big difference or women leaders?
Third: Be Personally Accountable and Ask Ourselves.
- What am I doing to help or hinder women leaders?
- What can I stop tolerating in my own leadership or from other leaders?
Women leaders are and will continue to step forward. It may feel like an uphill battle at times, but when has that ever stopped you!
To read more content about leading change, click here.
As a physician leader, you have probably been in a team meeting where because of your role others did not speak up. The unfortunate side effect is you won’t get all the best ideas on the table. What can you do to invite and engage leadership dialogue?
Dr. Jane, a Chief Medical Officer wanted to carefully plan her meetings but some days there was just no time for it. Rapidly Planning Effective Meetings helped her get clear on what she wanted from a meeting. Participation and discussion were required in order to get the results she needed. It sounds easy but encouraging others to participate takes patience and self-management. Why? because it feels like you are going slow to ultimately go fast!
Dr. Jane Did Two Things to Create Leadership Dialogue:
First, invite participation. Dr. Jane told her team she valued and needed their perspective and experience.
Second, ask questions to engage others’ thinking and ensure all perspectives are represented.
- What are you seeing that we haven’t explored yet?
- What do you see as your options?
- If you had a choice, what would you do?
You can also invite and then stimulate your leadership dialogue by:
- Choose key participants to ensure all perspectives are represented
- Creating an invitation that sets expectations
- Distribution of key information prior to the meeting
- Structures to stimulate engagement and dialogue, such as simple icebreakers, asking a direct question and including visuals.
A heartfelt invitation and open-ended questions will go a long way toward creating more leadership dialogue and getting more perspectives heard. The introverts on your team will thank you and trust and the quality of decisions will improve.
As a female physician, you have been required to rely on the strength of your IQ. Making a diagnosis, doing calculations and delivering a convincing argument all require use of IQ. And when you want to lead a team or influence others to follow your lead, another kind of intelligence is needed- emotional intelligence. That is can be a problem, because as a physician, mostly your IQ intelligence has been valued. But, the key to effective leadership relies on emotional intelligence.
The impact of emotional intelligence, which many women are naturally good at, may already be the source of your success and you aren’t even aware of it. This week I was speaking to Dr. Elaine who had recently completed an interim role as Medial Director. Her department was preparing for a quality survey. Long hours, and even weekends, would be required to catch up on the backlog of charts. She worked right along side the staff and even brought in pizza to make those long evenings a little more enjoyable. When the office clerk was having a problem with her child, Dr. Elaine sent her home to take care of the situation. The stressed clerk expressed her appreciation with a look of gratitude.
Dr. Elaine told me that this interim position had been the most rewarding work she had done in a long time. The staff had pulled together as a team, and together they had accomplished an unbelievable amount of work. When the acting Medical Director returned from leave he asked her, “ What did you do to get such amazing results?” She couldn’t explain the source of her success. She was asking me as a coach to help her understand what she had done so she could do it again!
What made the difference? Emotional intelligence explains why despite equal intelligence, training, or experience, some people succeed while don’t. In fact, 90% of the difference between outstanding and average leaders is linked to EQ. Dr. Elaine paid attention to the personal needs and perspective of her team. Her behavior demonstrated that she cared about each person as an individual. Attending to the emotional needs of the team created the commitment, engagement and collaboration needed to get the job done.
The Majority of Competencies Needed for Successful Leadership are EQ in Nature.
Typically, we want to share what we know so others trust our expertise. You need to flip your focus from IQ to EQ if you want others to follow you as a leader. Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
To read more content about leading change, click here.
Why do most change efforts fail or only partially achieve their full potential?
The primary reason is not paying adequate attention to the reality that all change is an emotional event. Moving away from a current state (known) to a desired future state (unknown) can create chaos! Good Emotional Intelligence (EQ) accelerates change.
A successful change strategy addresses both the technical and human elements. The GE Change Acceleration Process (CAP) model, developed in the early 1990s under former CEO Jack Welch, is used worldwide to account for both aspects of change.
The Effectiveness of any initiative (E) is equal to the Quality of the technical solution (Q) and the Acceptance (A) by those whose support is needed to implement it.
In other words, paying attention to the people side of the equation is as important to success as the technical side!
While self-awareness and self-management are important steps in developing Emotional Intelligence (EQ), social awareness and relationship skills are critical to successful change management. Build your social awareness skills to get a sense of the level of acceptance of your change initiative
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see the world from his or her point of view,
- Try to understand the pressures, responsibilities, expectations, and demands placed on the other person,
- Say “I’d like to know more about that”.
Asking people questions about how they feel will give them comfort as well as give you information about how to encourage their acceptance of the changes.
Your ability to accurately pick up others’ emotions and understand how they are being affected by change prepares you to interact constructively and create acceptance.
Academic or cognitive intelligence alone is no longer enough to be successful in medicine. EQ (emotional intelligence) is required of all physicians and will lead you to healthy relationships and resilience with the trials of your life and career in medicine.
A 2006 sample study of 946 participants with researcher Peter Salovey found significantly higher scores obtained by women on overall scales of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Current literature demonstrates that men and women have different kinds of Emotional Intelligence. Women have much stronger interpersonal skills than their male counterparts but men have significantly higher sense of self and independence.
What impact will this have in healthcare workplaces? In the past men have dominated the top positions of influence. Now in healthcare environments, where a culture of teamwork and partnerships are valued, people skills are seen as important. Women’s higher scores in the interpersonal areas will now help them reach higher levels in the corporate world.
What is EQ and Why Does it Matter?
In the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves define emotional intelligence (EQ) as “your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” Their research has shown that EQ accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs. In addition, EQ is the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.
EQ can be broken down into four main domains under Personal and Social Competence.
- Self-awareness (emotions)
- Self-management (behaviors and tendencies)
- Social awareness (understand others moods and behaviors)
- Relationship management (manage interactions with others)
In the next few blogs, we will explore each element and what it means to your success!
Transforming Healthcare: What It Takes To Be “Fresh” In 2016
Which would you rather drink: water from a river or a puddle? When seeking a natural source of water, we are taught to drink from moving water, as it remains fresh. Shifts of weather and influences of other outside forces impact rivers and puddles; however, bodies of water respond in different ways.
Puddles of water change due to environmental factors and grow in times of rain or when water is added. When fresh water is not replenished, puddles become stagnant, evaporate, and eventually disappear.
A river grows, evolves, and changes shape according to landscape and environment within defined, but malleable boundaries. Rivers continue moving towards an objective – meeting a larger body of water, such as a lake, sea, or ocean. Although rivers can be redirected, channeled, and reused, rivers remain fresh.
In the must-read, new book, n=1 How the Uniqueness of Each Individual is Transforming Healthcare, authors Koster, Bisbee, and Charan believe that “questions are the best approach to uncertainty.” For readiness towards a bright future, we need to move from asking desired questions, to asking needed questions. Guiding our questions are the following key market forces creating uncertainty in the shifting landscape of current healthcare:
- Digitization: Healthcare is new to digitized information being used by patients and healthcare providers.
- Scientific innovation: Fueling broad access to information and an increasing ability to analyze care from an individual perspective
- Risk transference: A balancing act in which organizations and individuals face moving forward, despite striving to be able to afford future healthcare
Although the authors’ premises apply primarily to decision-makers in organizations, my work with physicians makes me certain that the principles apply to us personally.
What Questions Do You Need To Ask Yourself, And What Attitudes Should You Embrace?
- Accept day-to-day change as the norm. The transforming healthcare landscape is growing and evolving. We are a part of a flow that does not end. Be like a river, with malleable boundaries continuously moving towards a goal.
- Know yourself. Who do you aspire to be? Your personal values define your shores. The momentum of moving water is effective when focused on achieving a goal, yet destructive, when the rivers’ boundaries do not exist, such as during a flood. So, take care of yourself!
- Know your environment. Who are your patients and customers? What is effective for a local hospital or clinic may not be a good choice for a large healthcare system.
- Have a vision and stay aware that external conditions may influence access, design, and performance. Rigid structures, plans, or directives that do not allow flexibility or interpretive approaches limit performance, innovation, and, ultimately, success.
Look towards the river scenario to generate new opportunities and to adapt to changing circumstances. In times of transformation, don’t try to have all the answers. Staying flexible and fresh requires focusing on asking the right questions.