The course that had the greatest impact on me during my Masters in Public Health program was "Healthcare Leadership". As we were debating and learning about the skills that good leaders exhibit, it struck me that we physicians had very little training in what it took to be effective as the person in command of the show.
Shortly thereafter, in my role as Medical Director of our local hospital, I campaigned successfully to set up a physician leadership training program for our hospital medical staff, local IPA and academic medical center leaders. In many ways, this training helped provide significant breakthroughs in some of the stubborn impasses in which the diverse constituents of our medical community were engaged.
I have never forgotten the lessons.
"The Intelligent Entrepreneur" describes these leadership traits of successful entrepreneurs:
- integrity and trustworthiness - "making promises and then doing everything you can to keep them"
- enthusiasm, if not downright passion, for the vision and mission of your medical practice or business
- ability to communicate, to the external world and the inner circle of your organization, the vision and mission of your medical practice or business
- confidence and a "visceral sense for the right way to do things"
- willingness to recover from failure
- the ability to hire the right people, and then empower them to make decisions
- willingness to tolerate mistakes in others as long as their heart is in the right place
- willingness to make decisions that are not always popular
- ability to cheerlead
- candor with your team, in keeping them updated as to how your business or medical practice is doing
- insight into yourself, along with the ability to manage yourself (these are critical aspects of Emotional Intelligence)
What is most striking about this Rule # 6 is that no amount of book learning will substitute adequately for real life experience.
What this means for aspiring physician entrepreneurs is it's time to position yourself in whatever leadership capacity you can, to begin acquiring the physician leadership skills that will be essential to your future success in business.
Should you get involved in your hospital, leading one or more of their committees? Or should you spend time working your way up the ladder in your local chapter and then national specialty society? Perhaps you'll discover your leadership skills through your religious institution, your child's school, a networking organization or in a voluntary position on the board.
I encourage you to begin acquiring and practicing those physician leadership skills as soon as you can!
(Connect here to the earlier 6 Rules for the Intelligent Entrepreneur)