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How to Be a Better Leader

The hardest part of medicine isn’t becoming a doctor, it’s staying a doctor.

Learn business skills.

Even the healthiest plant needs strong roots.

Τhere is a need to learn the leadership and business skills that you didn’t get exposed to in medical school.

When you fully understand the realities, you can reset your expectations and learn how to interact with the administrators who have the power to make your practice environment better.

Even if better is impossible, someone needs to advocate to protect the physician-patient relationship.

Leadership, physician management and MBA programs aren’t just about finances and economics.

They include topics such as communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and meta-leadership.

Here are 3 tips to become better leaders:

Learn to disappoint people.

Medicine attracts perfectionists, there is so little room for error.

Radically accept that real-life practice is not a textbook.

Be kind to yourself as you can’t be perfect in an imperfect system.

You’ve performed well on tests for years, but great doctors can earn low scores on patient satisfaction surveys.

In fact, those numbers could mean you’re doing your job.

You can be hardworking and dedicated without being selfless.

It’s OK to set some limits on what is being asked of you.

Saying "no" to a task, may offer an opportunity for someone else to develop leadership skills and give more depth to the medical team.

Communicate your needs in a productive way.

I suspect many physicians don’t want to learn more about the business of medicine, as it sounds so hopeless.

But guess who knows a lot about the business side.

The administrators who set your clinic schedule and the insurance carriers that determine best practices for value-based care.

If you learn the lingo of business, you will be more confident in speaking up in meetings.

Negotiate like you are fighting for someone else.

Doctors don’t love talking money as they worry they will appear more concerned for themselves than patients.

Being smart about money isn’t the same as being money-driven.

I learned to work smarter, not harder, so I could continue to enjoy my practice and still have a little left in the tank when I returned home to my family.

Every time I’ve set limits on my time, I’ve made more money.

When reimbursed appropriately for your time and effort, your work feels different.

This satisfaction carries over to patient interactions.

Physicians are great advocates for patients and colleagues, use that fire to stick up for yourself.

Following these three points as a mantra, you’ll be less frustrated with what medicine has become, and be more available for your patients.

By using your leadership skills and business knowledge to practice, you became a better doctor.

Medicine is better with you in it.


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