How do leaders improve?
If you have made it to a leadership position, and have been in that role for a while, you might start to feel you are stuck in your growth trajectory. If so, how do you continue to improve?
According to Dr. Kennedy, whether you are looking to get into leadership or want to improve, focusing on emotional intelligence is important. “A book like Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradbury is a great introduction,” she said. “With my leadership team, we did a book club where we read Primal Leadership, which is focused on emotional intelligence and on aspects like setting a culture.”
Dr. Howell said that to grow as a leader, be careful what you say no to. “I used to talk about having a tag line that was ‘just say yes,’” he said. “At least try to say yes most of the time because it opens up opportunities and shows you are looking to do more, not less.”
Also, Dr. Howell recommends that leaders look for tools that minimize blind spots and get information from staff through survey assessments. “Get the input of others on your strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “Nurses, doctors, and sometimes patients can give you good information that will help you grow as a leader. Don’t be afraid of feedback.”
Never stop learning
Dr. Scheurer said it is important to recognize that you are never finished learning when you are a leader.
“See leadership as a continuous learning journey. You can never be too good of a leader in medicine,” she said. “Never stop learning, because the field keeps changing and you have to constantly learn and find pleasure in that learning. You should look at leadership the same way. A lot of leadership theories change with the times and you should always try to get good advice. You don’t take every piece of advice – just like in medicine when you read an article and you try to apply it to patients in your practice. Take some advice, leave some advice, and develop a leadership style that is genuine and authentic.”
Dr. Kennedy believes that a hospitalist’s leadership potential may be limited if you see continued learning as a chore, rather than an opportunity.
“If you resent it learning about leadership, then is it really for you?” she asked. “I find myself reading on the topic or talking about it, and it’s fun. How do you make an environment work better, how do you inspire people, how do you help them grow? These are some of the most important questions leaders face. Isn’t it fun if you can find some answers?”