How to lead a confederation of over 30 ICUs across a multi-location organization was the daunting challenge facing our client, a newly appointed ICU physician leader, in particular because none of the respective members (also leaders) were his direct reports. He recounted:
"[In] medical school and residency, your entire training is focused on making you a better individual performer. They didn't spend 1 minute in my medical school residency or fellowship teaching me how to lead a team or even really teaching me how to be a member of a team, never mind assuming as a physician I would be the leader . . . Everything was about improving your own procedural skills and improving your own diagnostic skills, improving your own ability to see a patient and generate a differential diagnosis. None of it was spent on how . . . I get a group of nurses, respiratory therapists, medical students, residents and fellows, and everyone else who you have to interact with to function well as a team, and so most physicians don’t do it well."
This is not an uncommon perspective we have heard from our physician leader clients, and one that, in the new world of healthcare, has increasing impact on an organization's success in creating positive change quickly.
A recent HBR blog posting captured some of the dynamics of this reality, highlighting the challenges that physicians face when assuming leadership roles. Noting that they are on the cusp of revolutionary change in health care, they feel underqualified to lead.
Based on his experience, Richard Winters, MD, MBA, offers four challenges with solution ideas for each. Read about his solutions on the HBR Blog (registration is free).