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Five realities of effective leadership

By Shane Carter  bio

In order to succeed, medical office managers must be capable in leading people. Leadership is a learned skill that when polished over time can turn managers into exceptional leaders. Polishing this skill will require your time, effort, and an understanding of five realities of effective leadership.

Leadership is an action word; it’s an activity not a position.

Never assume that just because you are the boss that you are leading your team. In the absence of effective leadership, staff will follow most anyone, and that is usually the most vocal person in the room. The most vocal person in the room must be you. Take your message to the staff, tell them why you believe it, and then sell it. Meet with staff members routinely and make certain they hear the message over and over. This cannot be done from behind a desk; it must be done cubicle by cubicle, station by station, and office by office.

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier

The ripple effect of a leader’s enthusiasm and optimism can be awesome. When as a leader you believe in the company’s vision, product or service, and you are excited about it; your attitude will be contagious. But be careful, so is the impact of cynicism and pessimism. Leaders who whine, blame, and complain engender those same behaviors among their colleagues. Don’t expect the attitude of your team to do anything other than reflect your attitude.

Most problems live below the surface

Don’t be afraid to dig deeper to uncover a problem or a mess. At times we all want to shrink from digging deeper because we know we might not like what we find. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is the slogan of the complacent. Leaders can easily use such phrases as an excuse for inaction. Never be satisfied with a mindset that assumes or hopes that today’s realities will continue tomorrow in a predictable fashion. In a culture of complacency you won’t find people who proactively take steps to solve problems as they emerge.

Make it simple

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers who can cut through disagreement, debate, and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand. Effective leaders understand the KISS principle, Keep It Simple, Stupid. They articulate overarching goals and values which they use to drive daily behaviors and choices among competing ideas. Their visions and priorities are clear and compelling, not cluttered and buzzword-laden. They convey a firmness and consistency in their actions that is aligned with the picture of the future they paint.

Leadership can be lonely

When you are in charge you can encourage participative management and bottom-up employee involvement, but ultimately the essence of leadership is the willingness to make the tough choices that will have an impact on the fate of the organization. At times that leaves you alone at the top and vulnerable. Many leaders flinch from this responsibility. Even as you create an informal, open, collaborative corporate culture, there will be times you are lonely.

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” –Colin Powell

Shane Carter is an executive healthcare consultant, speaker, and writer with 24 years of medical group management experience. He has extensive “boots on the ground” training and has led a multi-specialty physician group on a highly successful journey from volume-based operations to a values-based Patient Centered Medical Home and AccountableCare Organization.

The above information is shared by a guest contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Medical Office Manager.

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