How to identify a great physician leader

As the U.S. healthcare paradigm shifts away from fee-for-service and toward a population health-oriented care model, physician leaders are increasingly the drivers of change within hospitals and other organizations. To be effective, however, physician leaders must possess a full range of skills and qualities beyond being a good clinician. 

It's up to hospitals to seek certain traits in potential physician leaders, according to the second of a two-part series in Executive Insight. Effective leaders, according to the article, have the following qualities:

  • Great listening skills--a powerful tool in conflict resolution 
  • Effective communication and collaboration skills--they can help departments work together, build consensus among stakeholders and share the organization's vision
  • Ability to inspire people--these individuals create a sense of purpose and direction for the organization 
  • Desire to learn--physician leaders must be willing and able to update their knowledge and challenge their current beliefs

Furthermore, a study by Providence Health & Services found that great physician leaders are even-tempered, optimistic and willing to share the credit for successes.

In the first part of the Executive Insight series, medical students who want to be physician leaders were advised to pursue a dual MD/MBA degree. The demand for programs that provide these dual disciplines is rising, but medical schools are struggling to keep up. 

 To learn more:
- read the two part series here and here