Home Case Studies Health Care Sector From Extraordinary Diagnostician to Extraordinary Leader

From Extraordinary Diagnostician to Extraordinary Leader

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And I wrote a quick email. Her name’s Chris and I said, Hey, Chris, I’m putting a presentation together and if you’re able to send me the last month report on XYZ I really appreciate. Thanks so much. Okay. Have a great holiday, Stu.

About an hour goes by so I think I’ll get it afterwards. I was walking in the hall and I happen to walk by her offices. I see her door is open and I walk over to see if she’s there. I walk in her office and there’s Chris dressed in jeans and a shirt. She’s there with a young girl and with an older woman, the young girl’s her daughter. The older woman’s her mother.

Chris said, “Let me introduce you to my mother and my daughter.”

“I was off today and doing some Christmas shopping in Towson but I got I got your email and I knew you needed this and I wanted you to have it but I couldn’t log in remotely from home because it wasn’t working. So we loaded mom and my and my daughter in the car and we’re coming in. I’m just going to get this to and then we’re going to go on our way.”

The daughter and the mother are looking at me with this look like you cannot believe.

“Chris, ou didn’t have to come in today. I apologize.”

“That’s okay, Dr. Levine, you need it. I want to make sure that you went into your vacation, you know, with everything you needed.”

I just felt miserable and for me it was just like a quick look how can you do this. She must have thought, “It’s the vice president asking me personally for something and I better deliver this. You don’t say no to a vice president.”

And I was just Stu. To her, it was Dr. Levine, Vice President Medical Affairs, one step away from the President’s office. And that if I was sending this email on Christmas Eve it must be important to get the information to him.

I was floored. I was unprepared. Think about it. I was sort of cavalier, thinking I’m still this friendly guy but now I’m not. I was the doctor asking her for something on Christmas.

I haven’t been respectful of associates who are very aware of my position and title, no matter how friendly I am or how personable. I still need to understand those things exist and try to be very, very responsive to that and do everything to not take advantage of that and be respectful. It’s something that’s real that is no longer a blind spot but that was probably the thing that I messed up the most. You can never communicate too much and there’s times when they haven’t gotten that memo. That power dynamic one was one where I still feel terribly about it because I negatively affected someone’s life and their families inadvertently but through kind of being tone deaf.

I try to teach people coming up understand the effect you’re going to have on your teams because they’re going to look to you and they’re going to go pretty far for you. Make sure you don’t ever abuse them and be sensitive.

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2 Comments

  1. Margaret Cary, MD MBA MPH PCC

    August 25, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Stu – your stories are why it’s important for leaders to be self-aware! You’ve done a lot of work with your coach, Rick Auman. He’s The Best!

    Reply

  2. Joy Goldman

    August 26, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Great interview and leadership principles. Dr. Levine models leveraging the polarity of confidence and humility! Having worked with leaders who report to him, I’m especially appreciative!

    Reply

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