Two Keys to Leadership: Mindset and Feedback

By AAPL Staff
May 7, 2018

View obstacles as opportunities and learn to give and take feedback. These two practices, alone, can make you a better leader. 

THE CHALLENGE:  Ask 10 people about the characteristics that make a great leader, and you’ll get 10 different responses. Google is no help, with results like “10 Unique Perspectives on What Makes a Great Leader” and “The 5 Essential Qualities of a Great Leader” and assorted numbers aplenty.

It’s all thought-provoking information, but is any of it useful? Much of it is vague (“command respect”) or takes years to master (“develop your focus”).


A quick takeaway to help you hone your leadership skills.

But if you want a simple blueprint for better leadership immediately, start doing two easy things: View obstacles as opportunities and learn to give/take feedback. These two practices, alone, can make you a better leader.

Adopt A Growth Mindset

Recent research has uncovered the two mindsets through which all humans make decisions — fixed and growth.

People with a fixed mindset see a challenge and say, “There’s no way we can get this done. We need more capital. More time. And our team has a history of failing in these situations.”

Those with a growth mindset see the same challenge and say, “We’ve failed in the past, sure, but this new obstacle is a wonderful chance to see what we’re made of. It will show us how much we’ve grown as a team.”

It costs nothing to adopt a growth mindset, and you can do it immediately. Make the word “failure” synonymous with “learning” and start seeing obstacles as development opportunities. You’ll quickly see changes — less stress, more productive conversations, confident decision-making and more.

Give and Receive Feedback

This is your mechanism for defending something you believe in. By offering corrective and constructive advice on how to behave, you’re protecting the sanctity of process.

Leave no stone unturned. If you see behavior (even well-intentioned behavior) that’s out of sync with an important process, offer feedback. Be respectful, but be relentless. Tell teammates why their behavior is out of alignment with the process. Explain the implications of their behavior. Guide them toward a solution, and then give them a chance to demonstrate corrective action.

But … you have to ask others to do the same for you. Elicit feedback from the people around you — even subordinates — and make an honest effort to change based on their recommendations.

The American Association for Physician Leadership provides a comprehensive online curriculum. Click here  for more about our educational offerings and credentials.

Topics: Leadership Journal

4 Tips for Managing Organizational Change
Granger Pays AAPL Membership for 55 Students; Challenges Other Senior Leaders
Transform your organization - Get leadership training from the experts!

Popular Articles


About Physician Leadership News

Now more than ever, physicians are leaders in their organizations and communities.

The American Association for Physician Leadership maximizes and supports physician leadership through education, community, and influence. We promote thought leadership in health care through our Physician Leadership News website, bimonthly Physician Leadership Journal and other channels.

We focus on industry leadership issues such as patient care, finance, professional development, law, and technology. Association announcements and news of association events can be found.

Send us your feedback at

Journal Submission Guidelines

AAPL's award-winning print publication, the Physician Leadership Journal, welcomes originally authored manuscripts for peer review that meet competency, formatting and preparation criteria. To review these guidelines and other information regarding submissions, click here.