The career path for many professionals leads to a leadership role, but there have been numerous studies that have shown that the majority of leaders are not adequately prepared to be leaders.
This is especially a problem in the realm of healthcare. Physicians have held leadership roles throughout recorded history, yet many have no training or skills that enable them to function as effective leaders. And even those physicians who do not hold a formal leadership role are still seen as leaders by their patients, staff and those in the community.
In an effort to gain a greater understanding into how physicians understand their leadership roles and hopefully provide insight to better equip physicians to take on leadership role successfully, I launched a series of studies into physician leadership.
Not surprisingly, my exploration found that role conflict negatively effects physicians participation in professional activities that would support them in their leadership. More importantly, support was found for the importance of understanding and acceptance of physicians’ leadership roles on an individual, peer and organizational basis. It is important that physicians in leadership value their own leadership role, that they believe their peers endorse them in that role and not only as a clinician, and that the organization they work within provides them the authority to enact their role as a leader.
The strongest impact I found upon the idea of a physician believing in their leadership identity was vision, and secondarily compassion. Compassion should be a cornerstone of clinical practice, but physicians and healthcare administrators should also be aware of the importance in compassion with regard to leadership.
To read more about these findings, you can read my entire article, ‘The affect of vision and compassion upon role factors in physician leadership,’ at Frontiers in Psychology: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00442/abstract