How to Spot a Promising Physician Leader

Debra Shute, July 13, 2017

The Right Stuff

But personality traits in and of themselves aren't necessarily good or bad for leadership. One person might tend to behave more analytically, for example, while another communicates best on an emotional level. These are qualities to consider when matching the right person to the right team or opportunity.

Some qualities that are consistently linked to success, in Hundorfean's opinion, are a candidate's willingness to be self-aware, reflective, and coachable.

"To be a strong physician leader, you need to be a good physician. I also look for people with warmth and energy," says Hundorfean.

"But most of all, I look for leaders who are direct. I like people who say what they mean, and don't waste time," she says. "When you're dealing with patients, physicians have to be direct with them, and I want our physician leaders to do the same when they are talking to me, or to employees."

Ability to Engage

Promising leaders also understand their own assets.

For example, Mark Rubino, MD, MMM, became president of AHN's Forbes Hospital in 2016, and holds specific standards for himself in carrying out the goals of the promotion.

"If we're going to move the organization forward, it comes down to the engagement of frontline staff," Rubino says.

"It can get a little overwhelming in regard to the amount of tasks that are necessary to perform this job, but I get very uncomfortable if part of my day isn't spent walking those floors, interacting with the nurses, doctors, and other caregivers. I learn more from that than I do almost anything else," he says.

Debra Shute

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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