Three key traits they should embrace: the ability to communicate clearly, the skills to manage change and emotional intelligence awareness.
What should health care executives expect from physicians when it comes to leadership?
“Physician leaders are expected to exhibit strong inter- and intrapersonal communication skills,” says Dian Ginsberg, director of career services for the American Association for Physician Leadership. “The ability to effectively lead clinical and nonclinical teams in a respectful, trustworthy and clear way is critical for physician leaders.”
Ginsberg, a certified career coach, points out three key traits physician leaders should embrace: the ability to communication clearly, the skills to manage change and emotional intelligence awareness.
The ability to communicate clearly allows leaders to gain influence, promote cooperation and engage top performers.
“Physicians must be able to communicate effectively to represent their needs and the needs of their teams,” she says. “Successful physician leaders must clearly articulate the organization’s mission and values to fully engage team members and garner the support of all stakeholders.”
Another important skill is the ability to manage strategic innovation.
“A physician leader must be agile and capable of accepting and driving change,” Ginsberg says. “In the rapidly changing world of health care, physician leaders must understand their approach to change and be able to quickly identify stakeholders’ approaches to change to facilitate rapid and sustainable change.”
Those skills become more difficult if the physician leader hasn’t developed emotional intelligence.
“Heightened emotional intelligence skills allows successful physician leaders to connect with team members, patients and administrators to facilitate the organization’s goals and establish meaningful relationships required to drive the organization’s mission,” Ginsberg says.
Ginsberg adds that it is essential to be proficient in the areas of health care finance, health care law and negotiating.
AAPL offers courses and psychometric assessments to help physician leaders understand their individual competencies in all of these areas. Through the assessments, the association is able to identify developmental opportunities, then offer resources and activities to support the physicians’ growth in these areas.
The association also offers a variety of courses as part of its Physician in Management series. These courses are designed to provide a fundamental understanding of topics such as quality, leadership, negotiations, communication, marketing and finance.