What is Leadership?
Leadership is influence: nothing more, nothing less. Increasing your influence will increase your leadership. So, why is this important to running a medical practice? It's very simple. As doctors and practice owners, we, whether we know it or not, influence many people throughout the day. You influence both your staff and patients. If you want an office that runs smoothly without a hitch, then you need to increase your ability to influence others.
Now influence is neither the same things as, nor meant to be, manipulation. Keep in mind there is both good and bad influence. Good influencers love their people. They take care of them and are great listeners. Bad influencers, on the other hand, often manipulate others and contribute to a negative atmosphere.
With influence comes responsibility. You cannot have the perk of a great and successful office without paying the price of leadership. People of positive influence add value to others. This is because they see the value people and they know and relate to what they value. So, ask yourself, “How can I make myself more valuable?” This is the responsibility part of leadership, which is taking time to spend with your staff.
What are some of the traits that positive influencers have? The first big one is integrity with people. Integrity leads to trust. A survey of 1,300 executives were asked, “What quality do you desire most in your team members?” 71% said integrity. So, in your practice, do you have good, written values, and do your office leaders practice and model them for others? Do you place the interests of other people above your own and are you accountable to others for your actions?
Leaders are good nurturers of people. Nurturing people does not mean “needing” them, but it does mean that you are committed to them. I have heard too many doctors say they can’t let a person go because they “need” them. When you need a specific person more than you value the needs of your practice as a whole, your business decisions are made out of emotions--and emotions create a storm that others will back away from. Your job, again, is to positively influence those around you so they become better people, not have them be afraid to come to you. Nurturing means lifting your team to a higher level.
Leaders also have faith in people. Don’t be afraid to confront them; just remember to do it from a place of love. It is wonderful when people believe in their leader. It is even more wonderful when the leader believes in their people. So a lack of faith in your people hurts both you as the leader and the people you influence. The greatest gift a leader gives another person is to express belief in that person when that person doesn’t believe in his or herself.
Leadership is influence. Who are you going to influence today?