Primary care physicians have to be more than doctors who treat patients. They must also be effective leaders who can influence board members and change agents to improve the healthcare delivery model throughout the country.
Unfortunately, medical schools don’t teach classes in leadership development to their medical students. They are basically thrown into settings where they must become instinctive leaders without receiving any training on how to lead effectively. It could be one of the reasons why the healthcare model has not improved much in recent decades.
Three Tips for Improving Your Leadership Abilities as a Physician
You don’t need to rely on formal leadership development education to improve your own leadership abilities. While it would have been beneficial to have that training in medical school, you can still take it upon yourself to improve your leadership abilities. Then you can have a long-lasting impact on your patients that will improve their health over the long term.
Here are the top three tips for improving your leadership abilities:
1) Use Emotional Intelligence to Build Relationships
Doctors tend to be egotistical and complacent because of their advanced education and professional status. But you cannot act like you’re right about everything as a doctor because no one has all the answers. Furthermore, you’ll have more trouble building relationships with people if you act smarter or superior to them.
Any good leader must possess a high emotional intelligence to build long-lasting relationships. If you don’t think you have high emotional intelligence, don’t worry because you can work on improving it to become a more effective leader. After all, building relationships creates a better sense of trust between you and those who listen to you. That means they’re more likely to follow your advice and listen to what you say.
2) Understand Healthcare is a Business
Good doctors may not want to face the reality that healthcare in America is a business. You may not want to think about the financial aspect of a medical facility because your interest is in treating patients and practicing medicine.
You must understand the business side of practicing medicine because you may need to talk to board members and business leaders about money for your medical practice. If you can understand where the money is spent, you will know how to lead your board members in directing the money toward things that can improve healthcare delivery for your patients.
3) Seek Advice from a Coach or Mentor
You can always find another doctor or health professional who knows something you don’t know. Don’t pretend you know everything because your patients will be the ones who will suffer.
Find another trusted health professional to serve as your mentor or coach. This could be someone with more experience who has proven themselves to be an effective leader in their field. Once you find this person, you can get their unique perspective on things you might need clarity about in your practice.
As a result, you establish a team environment where you can ask questions to other health professionals without feeling embarrassed. Nobody expects any doctor to know everything because of the complexities surrounding the medical field and patient care.
You can still be the “leader” of the team, but make sure you value the opinions and advice of your teammates. That is the only way your leadership position will be effective.
The Future of Family Medicine Will Depend on Physician Leadership
Doctors who obtain clinical leadership positions don’t typically receive formal leadership training beforehand. Instead, they learn leadership skills while on the job and rely on their instincts to make decisions. This doesn’t necessarily mean an untrained leader cannot run a medical facility well, but they need to be forward-thinking to succeed.
Forward-thinking leadership means trying to improve yourself as a leader every day. You may not be the best leader today, but you could be a better leader tomorrow. That is how you must approach any leadership position in a clinical setting.
For instance, if your healthcare professionals are not happy or your patients are not getting sufficient treatment to remedy their medical problems, then you can focus on taking steps to fix these issues.
Don’t just stick to some manual or prewritten guidelines for being a leader because that will get you nowhere. Being a good leader means earning the trust and respect of everyone in your clinical setting, both the patients and the caregivers. You can do that by listening to their concerns and offering viable solutions to help them improve in their positions.
Primary Medical Care Center has implemented physician leadership development in our facility. This creates a team environment where our physicians can consult with one another to achieve a positive patient care outcome. We want the perspectives of all our caregivers and health professionals to be valued because that is the best path for a more positive patient experience.
Call us at (305) 751-1500 if you’d like to learn more about how we have implemented physician leadership development into our facility.