04 April 2007

Leadership is hard

We had the physicians' retreat for our practice today. I found myself, for the first time, in the uncomfortable and intimidating position of being the guy in the front of the room, facing the 30-40 physicians there, expected to speak the words that will inspire and motivate them.

Sometimes I wonder how I got here. It may come as a surprise to the readers of this blog that I am a man with opinions. They range from politics to the practice of medicine, to the business of medicine (and well beyond). I had historically been content to shout criticisms and witticisms from the back bench. Nobody looks at you there, and if you're disastrously wrong the consequences are lesser. But a couple of years ago I was put in a "put up or shut up" situation. And now I run the group. Funny old thing, life.

It's turned out well, so far, and I am proud of what we have accomplished in the time I have been involved in the leadership team. We pulled the practice from the brink of insolvency and closed the rotating door on staffing. Now we recruit from top-tier residencies and have great retention.

But nothing sobers and intimidates like facing your partners in the flesh, and the expectation that you are going to have something stirring and inspirational to say, which will motivate them, make them excited and cheerful to go to work, and rekindle their love for the art of medicine. No pressure.

I'm not ready for a career as a motivational speaker just yet. I got through it OK, though. There was a lot to talk about and now I am just burned out. I think I will have a beer and soak in the hot tub. I have a lot of tension in my neck just now.


  1. Not needling, just curious. Do you bring your political views to the workplace as much as you do to your blog?

  2. Public speaking is a real thrill for me. There is something about the working without a net quality of it that I really enjoy. I've noticed that even in settings where I should be complete comfortable and familiar, I still feel a jolt of excitement when it is time to talk.

    I'm glad it went well. Maybe some time you'll have an opportunity to get your rant on. That would be worth seeing.

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  4. My upbringing in the military and business environments have helped me develop the following model for departmental review/leadership meetings:

    Celebrate your successes

    Acknowledge areas needing improvement

    Outline your near-term goals

    Recognize those employees/partners deserving attribution

    Partake in some form of teambuiling experience or event to help bond the group together

    It seems you have been having a pretty good start to getting to your comfort zone . . . eventually.

  5. You should go see an Osteopathic Physician for that sore neck.

  6. How come nurses never get to go on retreats? I can talk in front of people....if anybody needs a retreat its the poor hard working ER nurse.


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