My client is the Executive Director of a medical clinic for low-income patients in her community. She is worried because the funding for her patient population is at risk. She knows it’s important to get out and be the “face” of the clinic in the community. To figure out how to navigate these challenging times, she will need to listen to the concerns of both her patients and her donors. She feels stuck though because her staff is dependent on her for daily operations. To step up as a leader, she will need to develop her team- now!
How Did I Get into This Dilemma?
Before I give you some helpful tips, this is the question I asked my client to avoid this situation in the future. “What would you have to GIVE UP if you are to STEP UP as a leader?” She told me she would have to STOP:
- Doing the work her team could not or did not do.
- Telling her team how to do their work.
- Having the easier tactical conversations instead of the higher level, strategic conversations.
She realized that fear was holding her back from making these changes. Fear that her team would change. What if someone leaves or needs to be replaced? Fear of loosing control, “ if my team is doing more- how do I control the outcomes?”
The Action Plan
- Start by identifying where to focus your development efforts first. In this example, there was one team member who would be most instrumental in freeing up the Director to be out in the community.
- Think long-term about your staff hierarchy. If you have no one to delegate to, you can’t step up as a leader.
- Be transparent. Let your team know that you are making a shift. Explain how this will help you as a leader, the organization and the capacity of the team.
A smooth running operation, providing quality care and collaborating with her community was the motivation for this leader to step up. Be ready for your next leadership opportunity with a team that is ready too!
Read more content about teams that work by clicking 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.
Physician leaders often say that one of the biggest differences between practicing medicine and leading a practice, department, or an organization is the way time is spent. Collaboration and teamwork require lots of effective meetings.
A poorly planned meeting is frustrating and feels like like a costly waste of time. But who has time to plan when you are running all day to and from various meetings? Better outcomes of meetings don’t have to take more time. Years of sailing has taught me that what really makes a difference about whether I end up where I want to be and do so smoothly, depends on the rudder on the bottom of the boat, beneath the surface. A clear intention is the rudder of your boat – your meeting –- and it will determine your outcome and the quality of your journey.
Dr. Jane, a busy Chief Medical Officer, takes pride in planning effective meetings. As her responsibilities have expanded, she just doesn’t have as much time. I shared a strategy that has simplified her planning time so much, that she can do it walking down the hall to her next meeting.
Set a Clear Intention Before Each Meeting to Create Better Results.
A clear intention — knowing what you want to achieve – is the make-it- or-break- it factor of where your meeting goes. Keep in mind that it is best to set an intention about what you want, rather than what you don’t want, from the meeting.
Whether you are leading a group meeting or in a one-on- one interaction, take one minute to ask yourself two questions:
- What will be most important to this relationship?
- If I only get one outcome, what must it be?
Dr. Jane wanted to influencer her boss about an upcoming decision. Being helpful and assuring her loyalty was key to maintaining the relationship with her boss. Dr. Jane defined the success of the meeting as becoming clear about her boss’s needs related to the upcoming decision.
You can’t plan or anticipate what might happen in each interaction. However, your clear intention will keep your focus on your most important outcomes for any interaction. Prioritizing both the relationship and the desired outcomes keeps you on course as an effective leader.
Read more content about communication for impact by clicking here.
The women physicians with whom I worked at the March conference loved the ease and power of creating a personal leadership brand. As is often the case, when you return home, you may realize you have questions you didn’t think to ask. If you missed learning about leadership branding, read my past post, “How to Develop Your Leadership Brand.”
Here are my responses to the most frequently asked questions regarding how to unlock the power of your personal leadership brand:
How Is My Leadership Brand Statement Different Than a Mission Statement?
Both are essential in your personal and leadership development. You ultimately want both statements, as they serve different purposes.
A personal mission statement causes you to think deeply about your life, clarify your purpose, and identify what is important to you. What this gives you is criteria for living a meaningful life.
A personal leadership brand statement identifies who you are as a leader. Your leadership identity drives your decisions toward big-picture leadership goals.
How Can I Use My Personal Leadership Brand to Advocate for Myself?
Women frequently are powerful advocates for others, but often are less strong when advocating for ourselves. Your leadership brand can help you make a decision or build your case for a decision. In the process of creating your leadership brand, you identified your leadership “sweet spot.”
Inevitably, you will want to say no to projects, assignments, or roles that don’t align. Although you may not be able to negotiate your way out of or into every situation, you will be better prepared to make your case.
After I Create My Leadership Brand Statement, How Do I Use It?
- Share it with your team. You send a strong message about the importance of accountability when you hold yourself accountable to living up to your leadership brand.
- Create personal leadership brands as a team exercise. This is a powerful exercise to develop understanding and appreciation of team strengths and diversity.
- Include it as the summary statement in your resume’ and/or LinkedIn profile. Your statement will begin shaping how others perceive you.
Remember that you are training people how to treat you and see you in every interaction you have with them. Utilize the power of your leadership brand to define who you are as a leader, and your legacy for the future.
Read more content about leadership skill building by clicking here.
Intelligent, dedicated physicians are frustrated with getting results to improve both patient care and financial outcomes. Nevertheless, physicians who feel better about themselves and their results are alike in one crucial way: They use their emotional intelligence.
Today’s leaders require more than vision and a high IQ. Today’s physicians get results with support and participation of a diverse team. How well you manage yourself and your relationships is a key predictor of success for your teams.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
In his worldwide best-seller, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., explains that emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
In another of his books, “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” Goleman demonstrates that EQ represented 67% of abilities necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.
Logic And Emotional Context Help To Solve Challenges
The partial picture from the logical mind about you or your co-workers has to be accompanied by your emotional content. When you understand the whole picture, you have more potential to solve the most challenging issues, which often are people problems!
A Mindful Difference: React vs Respond
We often react defensively when uncomfortable with what is being said or done.
Responding is more thoughtful, more intentional, more active, and guided by logic. A thoughtful response maintains relationships and maintains progress toward your bigger goals.
Avoid Getting Triggered, And Get Better Results
Silvia Dias, the Medical Director of Urology in a large teaching hospital, is struggling to implement much needed changes within her department. Her new nurse manager is inexperienced, which frustrates Dr. Dias and reflects poorly in Dr. Dias’ role.
More than once, Dr. Dias has said things she regretted to her new nurse. The strained relationship has brought progress on departmental goals to a slow idle.
As we discussed Dr. Dias’ feelings and reactions to her nurse, we uncovered her desire to let the nurse know she was not doing a good job. The feeling under her reaction originated in frustration she felt having no input into hiring a key team member. Dr. Dias committed to more intentional responses to the nurse, in hopes of improving the relationship and outcome of team meetings.
Presence Is Key To Accessing Your Emotional Intelligence
Goleman reported that by “using EQ, people motivate themselves to persist in face of frustration; regulate their moods and keep distress from swamping their ability to think and empathize and hope.”
Emotional intelligence is about self-awareness, managing emotions, and handling relationships. Employ the following keys to gain access to your emotional intelligence and stay resilient implementing change:
- Pay attention to the sensations in your body, and they will reveal what emotional feelings are going on beneath the surface. These sensations may seem tense, light, heavy, or pressure.
- Adopt a practice of self-reflection to learn what triggers you. Focus on questions, such as: “Which interactions did I feel best about today?” What was it that caused feelings of frustration or inadequacy?
- Decide how you want to behave. You can’t help what emotions you feel, but you can decide how you want to react to them.
Emotional intelligence is important to physicians to keep momentum of teams moving positively forward. EQ improves your ability to manage your emotions, inspire and motivate staff, and build stronger relationships with team members.
Medicine isn’t an individual act; it is a team process. Harvard Business School researchers, Robert Huckman and Gary Pisano, tracked over 200 cardiac surgeons practicing at 43 hospitals. After analyzing more than 38,000 procedures, Huckman and Pisano found that patient mortality rates were no better after the surgeons had performed 100 surgeries than after the first few surgeries. A closer look at the data revealed that the surgeons did get better as they gained more experience at a particular hospital. The technologies weren’t any different from one hospital to another; but the healthcare professionals were. As the surgeons worked with a core team of nurses and anesthesiologists at one hospital, they developed effective routines that leveraged the unique talents of each member.
Today, successful and highly functioning teams are an essential part of the ability to deliver high-quality, cost-effective, and patient-centered care. Physicians are trained to be highly competent individual contributors. What can be challenging, however, is a sense of loss of direct control over the work when the physician has the dual roles of individual contributor and team member. To be a good team player in an environment where success comes, not only from what is accomplished individually, but also from what is accomplished through others on the team, means that your perspective will shift from having authority to being an influencer.
Effective Team Medicine
You will increase your influence and the effectiveness of your team as you keep your personal attention on the following actions:
Cast The Vision
Often people don’t do what we want, because we have not invested the time to paint the vision. In my experience, people want a challenge to do something significant.
A team that lacks trust will try to conceal their weaknesses or mistakes, may hesitate to ask for help, or may not offer to help others. What you can do is: admit what you don’t know; ask for help; accept feedback; and focus on important things, rather than politics of the workplace.
Handle Conflict Well
Teams that handle conflict well have interesting meetings, extract ideas from all members, put critical topics on the table to discuss, and solve real problems quickly. To encourage constructive conflict, create an environment where people can share their thoughts. Manage your emotions, and be willing to ask whether a discussion really would be in the service of getting the best results.
Focus On Results
Teams that don’t make commitments suffer from ambiguity about direction and priorities, which can cause over-analysis, fear of failure, and delay. Ask questions to create clarity around direction, in order to focus your team on their objectives. Review key decisions at the end of meetings, and determine next steps, so that everyone clearly is aligned when the meetings are over.
All of us have areas of expertise, workflows that we have worked out for ourselves, and tips to share with others. Your knowledge can be pooled with the knowledge of others, making the unit cohesive and, therefore, much stronger and more helpful than just a loose confederation of people who are trying to get things done on their own. As an influential contributor to your teams, you make the difference in best outcomes and helping the most people!