Avoiding politics is also very important to being a good leader, said Dr. Megerian, who credits his health system’s CEO with being open and transparent. Avoiding politics also means not treating anyone as if they are beneath you. “You never know who is going to help you, so be nice to everybody,” Dr. Megerian added. “Treat everybody like you’d want to be treated.”
Explore This IssueFebruary 2018
Perhaps most important of all is being a good listener. “It’s been said you have two ears and one mouth for a reason,” said Dr. Bradford.
Having a seat at the administrative table means being able to put in place initiatives for unconscious bias training and preventatives for physician burnout, which can cost hospitals $250,000 for every physician who leaves. “Medicine is going through some changes which have real ramifications with how we do our day-to-day jobs,” said Dr. Megerian. “It puts stress on doctors and creates challenges. A leader who understands that and can empathize and is also still in practice, which I am, can generate better outcomes and a better sense of loyalty from the physician staff.
Overwhelmingly, the physician leaders interviewed agreed that the only people not cut out for leadership are those who are in it for their own personal ambition. “If you do it just for ego gratification or you want to be chairman by a certain age or president by a certain age, it’s going to backfire and you’re not going to get the results that you want,” said Dr. Megerian. “At the end of the day, we’re in this profession to help people. Other industries are important, but this is a very noble profession.”
Renée Bacher is a freelance medical writer based in Louisiana.