Physicians make great leaders. They bring a unique clinical perspective and understanding of collaborative teams that is essential in today’s evolving health care landscape. Yet many physicians are challenged — often frustrated — as their extensive training rarely includes key leadership elements that allow them to maintain effectiveness as their scope of responsibilities expands. How hospitals and health systems develop and support physician leaders could be the difference between an organization that is flourishing and floundering.
Talking with hospitals and health systems of all sizes we heard a common need: Help us better identify physician leaders of the future and equip them with both hard and soft skills so they can succeed.
So, the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Physician Alliance, in partnership with Strategic Talent Solutions (STS), created a program called Physician Leadership 360 that makes it easier for administrative teams to identify, encourage and develop physicians as future leaders. The program focuses on the core characteristics of leadership and connects participants with resources to build skills in key subject areas, including strategy, collaboration, communication, problem-solving and financial stewardship.
We’ve piloted the program at a few sites over the last year, and the experience validated both the need for the program as well as the approach. Providing data and a common framework on what constitutes a good physician leader has fostered connection between leadership teams and new physician leaders while also empowering new leaders to hold teams accountable in a way that’s constructive.
Specifically, we found that this kind of investment in leadership development allows health care organizations to do four things:
- Attract and retain top talent;
- Drive improvement strategies and execution that can lead to better clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, staff satisfaction and value;
- Increase success in navigating change; and
- Enhance financial performance.