The most effective leaders ask for feedback, and say, “Thank you.” Some leaders ask for feedback and then shoot the messenger. The result? Everyone is quiet, afraid to speak out.
While I was at a large Federal government department, in the Central Office, where policies are churned out, top executives would hold “listening sessions,” and ask for candid feedback. I remember one of my mentors raising his hand, standing up and doing just that. The response from the executive was “I refuse to answer that! Next question.” No one said a word after that, for any of the three listening sessions.
The clinical expertise that makes you technically successful in the examining room and operating room is augmented by the skills that add to your success in business, public health and the private sector. Surgeons who are effective leaders have fewer patient deaths and medical errors. Effective leaders are competent in their clinical expertise AND have the strength of character to implement.
The employees of one of the best leaders I’ve ever worked with, Charlie Tomm, all told me the following, during our one-on-one interviews.
- “If CT agrees to do something, ‘you can take it to the bank,’” and
- “I may not agree with everything CT does, but I know he’s fair.”
Always keep learning. Add to your ever-growing perspective of life. Learn to think in shades of gray rather than black and white. Have fun and think of creative ways to engage your colleagues and show them you value them – it adds to their engagement, and to your well-being.
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