Leading Your Team

Leading Your Team

David L. Skaggs, MD, MMM

John M. (Jack) Flynn, MD

Mininder S. Kocher, MD, MPH

Kenneth J. Noonan, MD, MHCDS

Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH

Paul S. Viviano1



Compared with the average person, you are probably already an expert in most of the topics of this book, except this one. This chapter may be one of the best opportunities to improve yourself and help your patients. Leading a team is a completely different skill than getting good grades, getting into medical school, or matching into a competitive residency. Self-discipline, intelligence, and drive got you this far, but those qualities alone will not result in optimal patient care. We have all seen extraordinarily talented surgeons get in their own way and fail. Many more surgeons fail, or get into trouble, because of interpersonal skills, not surgical skill or knowledge.

Surgeons freshly out of fellowship or residency have put in their 10 000 hours of medical training but have probably had very little training to lead a team. From their first day on the job, they are then expected to lead teams in the operating room, clinic, and office. A freshly minted surgeon tends to focus on being exceptional in the operating room and may fail to appreciate that their citizenship and the ability to work within a team will be the metric that their new colleagues and coworkers will use to judge them (Fig. 30-1). The stakes are high, and it is easy for a new surgeon to get a reputation as being a jerk. This chapter is aimed at the newly trained surgeon, but some pearls should be found by experienced leaders as well.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) has been shown to be twice as important for effective leadership as IQ and technical skill combined. EQ comprises traits within the domains of self-awareness (e.g., self-confidence, emotional self-awareness), social awareness (e.g., empathy and organizational awareness), self-management (e.g., self-control, adaptability), and relationship management (e.g., influence, conflict management, teamwork, leadership).1 The good news is that, unlike IQ, EQ can improve over one’s life. In order to improve EQ, one has to want to improve it. One must have a genuine desire to be more empathetic to others, as well as more self-aware and open to change. While EQ may seem a little soft, it has been shown
that of the most predictive factors in success of any military unit is the emotional intelligence of the leader, and EQ is now a focus of leadership training in the military.

Figure 30-1 Surgeons in the operating room view the level of teamwork as much higher than nursing and anesthesia do. (Reproduced from Sexton JB, Thomas EJ, Helmreich RL. Error, stress, and teamwork in medicine and aviation: cross sectional surveys. BMJ 2000;320(7237):745-749; with permission from BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.)

Jan 30, 2021 | Posted by in ORTHOPEDIC | Comments Off on Leading Your Team
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