There is a portion of leadership that comes from natural ability and there is a significant part that can be learned. The military seems like one of the few organizations that focuses on teaching and developing leaders. Organizations within medicine should take the military’s focus on leadership development as an example and begin to prioritize it as an integral part of medicine.
Good leadership is rare and is not always what people think it is. The common misconception is that leaders have to be loud, narcissistic, and commanding isn’t accurate. Many character traits that are advantageous for leaders commonly fail to impress others and bosses up the authoritative ladder. Good leaders should have excellent character. They should be humble, teachable, self-aware, coachable, adaptable, slow to anger, strategic, and even a good follower… and the list goes on.
According to Ben Horowitz’s research, one of the most common reasons why employees quit their jobs is because they hated their managers or boss. They quit their jobs also because employees felt like they weren’t learning anything or developing in their careers. This isn’t an isolated reason. How many times has your lack of joy at work been tied to poor leadership?
Leadership can be learned, but it seems that few organizations and individuals treat it like a subject to be focused on. Developing and optimizing leadership to help employees grow is not something that is commonly addressed in the medical setting. In medicine even more so than companies, there are unique roadblocks and challenges that can be the difference between life and death, not just hitting the bottom line for investors in a company. So why do medical schools and hospitals fail to prioritize leadership development? This is part of the mission for the Physician Forge platform. There is a lack of discussion around developing excellent leaders in medicine, and my goal is to change that. We should be talking about how to teach leadership and how to develop effective cultures for the sake of patients, med students, residents, and employees. Please share your experience in the comments and look out for future posts on the subject!