If you are a doctor with a leadership or management responsibility, then the chances are, you have two jobs.

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I’ve just come back from the annual Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM) conference where I was exhibiting and speaking. The conference is aimed at clinicians who have an interest in developing leadership and management skills for themselves, or others. I really enjoyed my time there and met a lot of really interesting and thoughtful people. I really admire those of you who take up the challenge of a leadership role. You don’t have to do it and you don’t really get any thanks or reward for it.

And the reality is, that if you don’t give up your medical role, you have to the juggle the demands of your leadership challenges with your clinical priorities. Doctor and coach Richard Winters writes this month, this can come in four different challenges:

  1. Overwhelmed by organisational noise – urgent priorities means a reactive and fire-fighting approach
  2. Feeling stuck as an outsider – not belonging to either tribe
  3. Feeling stuck in transition – not knowing how your leadership skills are developing
  4. Feeling trapped in a time warp – organisational change and projects can take a long time

Department chairs, managing partners, medical directors, chiefs of staff—they’re all frustrated. As a practicing physician with experience in several leadership roles, I know how they feel: They don’t recall saying to their childhood friends, “I want to be Vice President of Medical Affairs when I grow up.”

Richard Winters MD. See Richard’s blog ‘Coaching doctors to become leaders’ HERE

I think those people who are prepared to stick their neck out and have a go at these roles deserve to have proper support and development. Coaching and mentoring are an effective way to develop the skills and approaches you will need. Because it is tailor made for you, your strengths and weaknesses and the environment you work in, it can accelerate your leadership development significantly. As one client said to me recently, “I probably would have got there eventually, but this coaching has sped up my learning by 1-2 years.” (Consultant).

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com and talk to me about your leadership role.

2 Comments

  1. Great stuff, Alexis, as usual. I wasn’t at Conference but talked to some who were. From my perspective and experience (I had 5 employers simultaneously for a while in the last 10 years) this does not only apply to medics in leadership roles. I think it is vital that anyone with a busy working life has the chance to stand still and reflect; as such it should be timetabled but invariably this is the first thing which goes when that apparently urgent meeting or clinical pull is made on a doctor’s time. I would also make a plea for everyone working in busy teams is also given this space to reflect; invariably you cannot now be “just a *****” because as such you will be working in the ***** team, with monthly meetings and networking in other teams and interest groups. The pulls on your energy, emotion and time will often be complex, each apparently the most important for those doing the pulling.

    A good leader recognises this in their team members, but a great leader respects each person as an individual and schedules this stand still time to recover and reflect. After all, that is what really re-fuels the people in the organisation if it is going to benefit from all this new activity.

    Roger
    (Just about to relinquish my clinical role for “more time with me and my family” but carrying on lead roles elsewhere in Education)

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  2. And if the doctor is also a researcher they are starting from two jobs before they even add leadership roles! And in my view, researchers are trying to do about seven jobs anyway – i.e. researcher, team leader/manager, communicator, administrator, fundraiser, teacher, employer… the list goes on. For some reason we expect senior academics to be able to do all these roles well!

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