The adage that “you can’t lead anyone else farther than you have gone yourself” is somewhat a truism in all organizations. A hospitalist program leader has a responsibility to establish the culture of the organization and to set the tone for the group’s professional and office staffs.
Lead by example
Depending on the size, structure, and location of the hospitalist group, the leader position may absorb a relatively small percentage of one clinical full-time employee position or it may take up the majority of the leader’s time. Regardless, the leader should never view the position as one of entitlement (i.e., as a means of avoiding holiday, weekend, or night call). Leaders should consider the affect of their adjusted call schedule and similar changes on the group’s morale, solidarity, and respect and support for the leader.
Group leaders, though challenged to juggle their administrative and academic tasks, should assist their colleagues in the clinical trenches. The leader’s willingness to help will not only boost the group’s support of that leader, but more importantly, will set a tone of professionalism and establish concrete expectations for the group as a whole.
Establish and reinforce the culture
Leaders’ behaviors, attitudes, and moods tend to be transmitted to their direct reports, who then pass them on to the rest of the patient care team. Over time, they permeate the organization from top to bottom, influencing activity at all levels. These behaviors and attitudes become entrenched in the organizational culture, influencing the types of people hired into the organization—invariably affecting recruiting, retention, productivity, quality, and stakeholder satisfaction.
Make work and winning fun
Establishing, striving for, and accomplishing goals should be energizing, exciting, and worthy of celebration. Consider regularly scheduled monthly dinners or museum and entertainment venue group subscriptions as a means of fostering a pleasurable work environment.
The above excerpt is adapted from The Hospitalist Program Management Guide, Second Edition, published by HCPro, Inc.