On a random Monday quarantine night- I have extra energy. I already exercised. So I think I’ll write. Why? Well, because I’m a huge nerd…but also, because I am an aspiring leader.

No, no- not what you think. I am, and always will be, a dedicated clinician. However, I read Dr. Riquelme’s article entitled “Random Thoughts on Leadership” and I thought his points were valid both for “leadership” positions and clinical roles as well.

Also, I didn’t think his thoughts were random at all- but rather conveyed a very intentional and clear message: You lead by championing others. In the middle of the biggest healthcare crisis of our lifetime, we still need to do this.

I wanted to write a response, reflecting on what I think leadership means. This is my personal collection of thoughts, developed from 10 years in the field. I’ve seen what I’ve seen and am writing this as a reminder to myself. However, if you’re reading this and checking the boxes…

Leadership means:

  • Empowering those around you: recognizing talent, fostering growth, allowing creativity
  • Creating a desired atmosphere: of positivity, trust, autonomy, and respect
  • Setting a good example: standing up for what is right even if it is unpopular or inconvenient
  • Taking the wheel and navigating new waters: while making sure the ship never steers away from integrity and excellence
  • Championing and supporting others: changes, actions, programs, ideas, and innovation

I agree with Dr. Riquelme that being a facilitator, a motivator, a good communicator, and a driver of positive energy are equally as important as organizing, planning, and running a business.

So my message is simple: “Be a leader and champion others.”
Start tomorrow. Even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Go to work and:

  • Make time for teaching: support your mentee’s critical thinking skills, lead them to making good decisions independently
  • Bring positive energy: Say “good morning”. Check your tone. Answer the phone with anything other than “Yes?”
  • Fight for what’s right: Advocate for you, your team, and/or your patient’s needs, even if this takes time
  • Start a clinical discussion: Talk about rationales, note-writing, patient outcomes
  • Champion others: If you don’t like someone’s idea, be a willing partner in collaboration and developing alternatives

I would argue that in the current climate and atmosphere, it’s more important than ever to be a leader. Just don’t forget what the great Instagram meme once shared, “You don’t have to blow out someone else’s candles for your light to shine”.

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