Leadership Development for Physicians in Academic Health Centers

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Leadership Development for Physicians in Academic Health Centers
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In every field of endeavor, there exists a need to develop leaders and to establish a system that helps leaders develop and enhance their skills. In the medical field also, leadership development is necessary so as to improve the skills of existing leaders and enable upcoming ones learn all that is needed to help them function effectively. Today, hospitals and health centers offer medical leadership training for physicians. This helps physicians to relate well with fellow colleagues and to improve how health centers are administered. In developing physicians for leadership in academic health centers, some of these areas should be emphasized.

1. Ability to Listen
Physicians should strive to use a leadership style that is participative because it helps improve productivity in the work place. Such a leader encourages team work and allows others to make their input and contribution towards the growth of the organization. People like to feel important and will contribute their opinions only if they know it will be appreciated. This also encourages them to be more committed to their work. Communication is incomplete when leaders don't listen to others. It is meant to be two-way and is said to be effective when the two sides listen patiently. A good leader is one who understands how to communicate effectively. Listening is not an easy task but with practice and effort, the leader can become a good listener. It is also important that leaders in these centers


should learn how to provide adequate feedback to their employees as this will encourage them more.

2. They should be Optimistic
Physicians have a great responsibility to be optimistic and able to inspire people around them. They should be able to build hope in the hearts of their colleagues and subordinates. This would help them as they go about their daily activities and enable them face pressure and challenges as they come. Everyone needs some motivation and an encourager at some point who will help them keep moving forward. Physicians who are optimistic help others to maintain a positive mindset and outlook towards life and this increases productivity in the health center. This also would reduce the rate of divorce, depression and drug abuse that the industry is known for. Needless to say that the challenges faced by physicians in academic health centers is daunting; those who develop themselves with this leadership quality will face them and also help inspire those around them.

3. They should have Integrity
Another leadership quality that is required of physicians is the need to have integrity. They must be people who keep their word no matter the situation and practice whatever they say. They should live good, moral and exemplary lives because their subordinates watch them every day. It is important that this quality is cultivated by physicians because it would distinguish them from others in the same profession. Integrity is a positive character trait which they should value and build upon.

4. They should show empathy
Physicians also need to develop empathy towards others. In an academic health centers, there are a lot of challenging situations that would tend to discourage people. Empathy is something that is missing in many places. It is necessary that they empathize with each other. This would make the team a closely knit one which would also help improving their relationship in the work place. It is an important leadership quality.

5. They should have a clear vision
This is an important quality that every leader needs in order to face the daily tasks in an academic health center. Without a vision, discouragement can easily derail one from their career and life goals. Successful leaders are people that are able to manage the challenges that come


their way. They see farther than others and are prepared to face the future. Leaders are meant to be visionary and for them to succeed in these academic health centers, they must remain focused and determined.

6. They should be good negotiators
Leadership requires skill if it is going to be effective. Without adequate knowledge and skill, a leader will not go far. One important skill required is the ability to negotiate and resolve conflicts. There are bound to be disagreements and diverse opinions on issues and decisions to be made in the academic health center but a leader who is skilled in these areas will not find it difficult to find a common ground for all to function effectively. Mismanaged conflict can lead to problems in the workplace so it must be handled in a respectful and positive manner to enhance the growth of the bond of employees. Various things such as different opinions and reduced productivity can cause conflict in the workplace. When resolved properly, the benefits are numerous both to the individuals and the organization. A leader should: be able to approach this issue maturely and respond appropriately; be calm and respectful; be ready to look ahead without any resentment; be able to look for a compromise in certain situations; face conflicts head on.

7. They should be skilled at managing employees
The leaders that will be successful must understand how to manage their employees properly. There are certain things to put in place that will give your colleagues and subordinates the confidence that their efforts are appreciated. It is important that the leader 'walks his talk' and also encourages others to do better. In managing employees, the leader also should be interested in providing any form of support that they may need to make their work easier. They should also show respect to their co-workers as this would motivate them much more to do their best for the health center. Training is another area that should be considered and focus should be placed on providing adequate training for employees to help improve their skills and productivity. Leaders should also understand that to get the best from their employees, they should also put in place certain incentives to help them. A structured program that would ensure that employees get bonuses or additional benefits would go a long way.