The many challenges in healthcare today require great leadership. Access, affordability and quality are just a few of the overarching issues that call for and, in fact, demand great leadership from within healthcare.
Traditionally, the criteria for a physician to advance to a leadership position have included academic and/or clinical accomplishments, rather than the distinctive competencies needed to lead. Furthermore, traditional physician training and the unique characteristics of physicians — we tend to value autonomy and, outside of structured interactions (such as the operating room or intensive care unit), may have poorly developed team reflexes — can handicap developing leadership skills.
Though developing great leaders and embracing change are well-established characteristics of frontrunner organizations in many industry sectors, healthcare organizations have generally lagged behind. What’s more, many healthcare organizations are structured in silos or “fiefdoms,” which represent a challenging environment in which to lead. Only recently are healthcare organizations awakening to the importance of developing physician-leaders and, in this context, offering physician-leadership programs.