Posts Tagged leader

A Good Leader’s Sphere of Influence Expands in Every Area of Contact

A Good Leader’s Sphere of Influence Expands in Every Area of Contact

In Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, seven behaviors are examined in relation to how they contribute to being effective in achieving goals.

The first of these behaviors is being proactive. Covey explains that proactive people focus their efforts on their Circles of Influence, meaning they proactively seek out opportunities to initiate and influence change in various areas of their life and career. The result is that proactive leaders find their Circles of Influence to be constantly expanding, and this expansion is the case with wise physician leaders. In this article, we will examine how this power of expanding influence is found in your impact outside your family and your practice.

The reputation of a physician doesn’t just precede him or her; it races far ahead of him or her, and it travels faster than you might think. In both small and large towns, in both specialty practices and primary care, for both young and mature physicians, there is an aura of reputation which permeates their community.

When a new physician enters a group practice, we often recommend he or she buy lunch for the staff within his or her first month of practice. This creates an understanding among the staff that the new doc appreciates them, and it initiates the leadership process. This is the beginning of physician reputation in the clinic, which spreads to the hospital staff and then to the medical community as a whole. It goes without saying that physician behavior supportive of a poor reputation spreads like a nuclear blast, while the construction of a stellar reputation occurs very slowly.

This leadership in a physician’s broader sphere of influence occurs for reasons different than other areas of life. Self-leadership and your position in your family are yours by reason of authority. Leadership of your group’s physicians and practice team is based in their permission. But leadership in your hospital, medical community, church and community come to you by invitation and therein lies the nicest of compliments about the person you are.

When your staff or the staff and administration team at your hospital ask if you will see and treat their family members, take those requests for the high compliments they are. When you are asked to lend your name to a civic event or fundraiser, do so, and then be present to add your personal support.

Giving your time, talents and treasure is modestly beneficial to the recipients and can be immensely rewarding to you. Recognize these opportunities, invest in yourself and lead like your M.D. designation required it — because it actually does. Powerful leadership begins with you but finds its end, and its purpose, in the community of people who respect and admire you.

Article contributed by James A. Stroud, CPA, D. Maddox Casey, CPA, and Sae Evans, CPA, with Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors, an official partner with the Medical Association.

Posted in: Leadership

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“Physician Leadership” Must Never be an Oxymoron

“Physician Leadership” Must Never be an Oxymoron

If there has ever been a time in the practice of medicine when leadership was needed, it is certainly now. Just a few of the challenges facing practices include:

  • Payer encroachment on medical decision making is increasing;
  • Payments for health care services are declining;
  • Utilization review processes question the extent of treatment provided;
  • Aging physicians in the U.S. want a lighter work schedule;
  • Medical staff are more inclined to frequently change jobs;
  • Patients take an increasingly unappreciative attitude toward the medical profession; and
  • The payment architecture for health care services changes often enough to make it nearly incomprehensive.

While there are many elements needed for navigating this maze, physician leadership is the most essential.

In future issues, we want to address the role of leading your physician partners, the leadership of your employee team, leadership in your medical community, your impact on your patient population, and leadership outside of your profession. However, leadership in all areas begins with effective leadership of yourself.

Because the Healthcare Division of our Firm is singularly devoted to the provision of services to physicians and their practices, we have the opportunity to regularly observe hundreds of physicians in their roles within their practice. Some are natural leaders, while others have made themselves into the leaders needed by their group and some have assumed leadership but are not truly ready for the role. To be a leader, you must have the right perspective, clear personal goals and an abundance of wisdom.

The foundation for leadership readiness is found in a perspective that your purpose is to serve those you lead. In the opening words of Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life, the author begins with a reminder that “it is not about you.” If you believe that your environment exists to serve you, your decisions will be selfish, your judgments self-serving, and your appetites insatiable. This belief cannot be concealed, and it is very distasteful when observed by your partners, staff and others. However, when a physician of supreme abilities, abundant blessings and high regard behaves selflessly, the esteem in which they are held is increased, and a resulting willingness to follow their lead is instilled. This means they know the needs of those around them and possess a healthy empathy toward their fellow physicians, employees and others.

Those who have a magnetic leadership ability also have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. Their roles as a spouse, parent, grandparent, child of their parents and sibling are marked by intentional goals and plans to achieve those goals. They have fitness and health aims, personal hobbies and recreational goals, and faith-based priorities as well as their medical practice plans. Rather than having to insist on followers, those around them follow by admiration of their balanced lives, clearness of direction, and discipline to stay on task in their pursuits.

This leadership by respect rather than by position is discussed in The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell. This pursuit of goals must be balanced. For example, the young physician who is so committed to parenting that he or she wants to coach their child’s soccer team is appreciated for their success in all realms of life if they are also the top producer at the clinic, have expanded their hours to see patients before normal office hours and are working on their afternoon off to make up for lost production.

Given the same scenario, the doctor/coach who is the lowest producer and does nothing to supplant the production lost to extra time away from work will never receive respect for their one-dimensional enthusiasm. If they also complain about the unfair allocation of patients, errors in the practice revenue cycle and the need for greater compensation, they are assured of disrespect from their staff and peers.

The servant leader must have a “healthy empathy,” and the goals of a driven physician must be “balanced.” These qualities can only be found in an abundance of wisdom built over the years. Wisdom enables you to pick the battles you should fight selectively. Patiently wait for the opportune time to engage on the issues, and calculatingly arrange the desired audience to be present as you deal with a matter. Wise actions are deliberate, not impulsive. Some wisdom comes from past mistakes, so always review your own handling of tough situations for ways in which you could have improved. Wisdom is also found in seeking the counsel of others, especially those outside your practice.

Future leadership articles will speak to the various areas calling for physician leadership, but self-leadership must be at the core.

Article contributed by James A Stroud, CPA, D. Maddox Casey, CPA, and Sae Evans, CPA, with Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors. Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors is an official Gold Partner with the Medical Association.

Posted in: Leadership

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