Takeaways for the Wise Physician Leader

An excerpt from Physician Leadership: The 11 Skills Every Doctor Needs to be an Effective Leader, by Karen Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, FACP, CS-F.


We are not all alike; we do not bring the same approaches to the table. But all personality types have important contributions to make. Diversity is a good thing! The good news is that some very smart people have figured this out long ago and have developed categories and assessment tools to determine the categories. Take advantage of the personality assessment tools available to learn about yourself and come to learn, appreciate, and welcome others’ approaches and perspectives. Your road will be much smoother and result in more effective leadership if you do so! Here are some questions to guide your analysis of how you and your colleagues approach situations, many who will proceed in a different manner than you do.


1. Have you experienced a situation where your perception of an issue differed from another person’s view? How did that influence the outcome of the issue? Why did the other person perceive the issue differently than you? What personality approach might that person have brought to the issue? 


2. Have you ever seen a scenario where the extrovert in the group drove the direction of the discussion of an issue? And that direction may have been facilitated/exacerbated by a leader who did not seek to bring out other perspectives. How did that promote or inhibit the best solution? 


3. Have you encountered a statistics-driven individual who is always asking “give me the data”? How did that approach facilitate or slow down the process? When was that approach necessary to move the analysis forward? When did that approach serve to divert the discussion from the real issue at hand? Could that have been the intent? 


4. What have you learned about how you personally approach a problem or situation? How does your natural approach assist or hinder the understanding of the options? What situations are more comfortable for you? What situations do you try to avoid, either intentionally or inadvertently? 


5. Consider a situation where you do not know the other individuals. Do you squelch your natural-type approach until you see the direction of the group? Or do you follow your usual “type” reaction, which you have employed in a similar situation? How will those choices facilitate or hinder the situation? 


Take a break for a minute and consider this. If you are going to get the most benefit from this or any leadership study, you need to periodically reflect on your performance with the person who is watching you in every leadership situation, you! This book includes an Appendix that will guide you through a short daily/weekly reflection exercise. Additionally, as you read through each subsequent chapter in this book, bounce back to this reflection exercise and plan how you will regularly use this guide to facilitate your leadership development progression, based on analyzing what worked and what could have been handled more effectively. 




20211217 ART Karen Nichols headshot

Excerpted from Physician Leadership: The 11 Skills Every Doctor Needs to be an Effective Leader, by Karen Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, FACP, CS-F




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