The importance of leadership

In a sense, everyone in a practice is a leader and has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership characteristics. Good leaders are people who communicate well, consider others, give good feedback, are self-aware, demonstrate competence, lead by example, and care about other people and their development. Some leaders excel by being visionary and helping the group to identify and get behind common goals; other leaders are very effective at “keeping the trains running on time.”

Some individuals in a practice are placed into the role of leadership by their position and responsibility. Usually in a primary care practice this is the practice manager and medical director, but also the lead MA or the lead staff person. These people, since others are responsible to them and they are in a decision-making capacity, have the special role of formal leader. There is much to be said about leadership, but a lot of it boils down to these factors. A good leader:

• helps set a common goal and helps team members see their role in accomplishing that goal
• cares about the development of others and facilitates providing support and growth of team members
• establishes with team members reasonable expectations and then holds people accountable; handles conflict and disgruntlements with compassion, but firmness is adaptable to the context and situation and shares the knowledge and power – empowers team members

If practice leaders lack leadership skills, the practice will most certainly suffer losses in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and team member and patient satisfaction. There are many quality leadership training programs available, and investing in these trainings is usually wise. Consider a program that has aspects of both transactional (how to do specific skills; for example, how to make agreements), but also transformational (how to become a different and more skilled leader in a holistic sense). There are also leadership coaches that work one-on-one with leaders to develop their leadership skills.

By Complete Care Management, Inc.