3 characteristics that make doctors good hospital leaders

Doctor
It only makes sense that doctors are good hospital leaders.

It should not come as any big surprise that studies show that physicians make some of the best hospital leaders.

“To effectively lead an organization, you have to actually truly understand the people in your organization and what they do,” Bruce Y. Lee, M.D., writes in a contributed piece for Forbes.

So it makes sense that doctors can do a better job running a hospital than someone who has never taken care of patients, says Lee, an associate professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Doctors’ training means they bring a host of leadership skills to the job, he says, including:

The ability to remain calm in stressful situations. Doctors make critical decisions when they may be sleep-deprived and in chaotic circumstances.

Experience communicating with a wide variety of people and making decisions quickly. There isn’t time to form a committee to decide what to do when a patient needs emergency care.

Showing empathy and compassion. The best doctors are good at showing patients that they care about them.

Other qualities that make physicians good leaders include the ability to keep their tempers in the face of small annoyances, a willingness to share credit and remaining optimistic under pressure, as FierceHealthcare reported.

As the industry moves full speed ahead to new payment and care delivery models, executives at some of the country’s largest health systems say that physicians must lead the way and are developing programs to cultivate their leadership.

“We need more physician leaders to help drive the movement from volume to value,” Robert Pearl, M.D., chair of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices and executive director and CEO of the Permanente Medical Group, said during a panel discussion last September.