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MUSC Excellence at the College of Medicine/UMA
importance of People pillar
by Jerry Reves, M.D.
College of Medicine and Vice President, Medical Affairs
As customary, I would like to recap some key elements and provide
highlights from our fifth Leadership Development Institute (LDI), held
March 14 where more than 300 of us met.
Our guest speaker John-Henry Pfifferling, Ph.D., a medical
anthropologist, spoke on the key behavioral attributes associated with
Effective leaders are direct and open with information, seek feedback
regularly, compliment truthfully, and apologize when indicated. They
demonstrate confidence in others, promote independent decision-making,
and are able to delegate responsibility effectively.
Strong leaders manage conflict by using effective information gathering
techniques, examining problems from multiple perspectives, building
teamwork through collaborative problem-solving, and discovering and
implementing win-win solutions. Leaders must support inventiveness and
reward good performance, never letting dissatisfaction, declining
performance, or burnout become endemic.
Self-appraisal recommendations were provided to help leaders develop
optimal behavioral patterns. Leaders should assess to what extent they
communicate clearly and directly with their team, if the goals they set
are appropriate and sufficient, if every member of their team fully
understands their roles and expectations, whether adequate progress
checks have been developed and implemented, if optimal process
improvement efforts are in place to foster efficiency and productivity,
and whether personal responses to criticism and stressors, as well as
efforts to foster personal well-being, are adequate.
Pfifferling also provided insight and direction on the importance of
providing constructive feedback using effective communication patterns
that enhance the likelihood of success. Leaders should review pertinent
assessment information, conduct exchanges openly and receptively,
discuss expectations clearly, explain the rationale for decisions,
offer suggestions that get right to the point, and empower team members
to collaborate in developing appropriate response plans. He also
stressed the importance of providing follow-up assessments on
corrective action plans and permitting mid-course corrections based
upon straightforward interim evaluation methods.
Pfifferling emphasized that a strong leader is committed to the
critical goal of excellence, not to the unattainable goal of perfection.
Susan Harvey, M.D., presented an overview of the MUSC Excellence Reward
and Recognition Program, designed to motivate, inspire, and applaud
those around us through a variety of mechanisms, celebrating our many
successes through frequent, specific, and timely positive feedback.
Fundamental to our success is to “celebrate what you want to see more
of,” keeping in mind that positive reinforcement heightens morale,
motivation, and engagement, which in turn leads to increased
productivity and decreased stress-related negative outcomes.
Ben Clyburn, M.D., provided an update from the Standards Team,
reminding us of the current standard of the quarter, Managing Up—a term
that means complimenting our colleagues and coworkers. This is a
powerful way to improve morale. The converse of complimenting each
other is being critical—a most destructive act. Illustrating this, Ben
gave us his grandmother’s sage advice: “It’s a poor frog that won’t
praise its own pond.”
Connie Best, Ph.D., emphasized the role of personal well-being in
promoting resiliency in leaders. She reviewed leadership attributes
that can serve to magnify the effects of stressors and recommended
performing an inventory of personal stress resiliency factors. The
complete Personal Stress Navigator assessment tool is available online
Best noted that positive adaptation behaviors may not be innate, but
can be learned to develop resiliency and increase effectiveness.
Adaptability can be enhanced by learning to recognize and respond
appropriately to personal stress signals in ourselves and in those
around us. Communicating openly and effectively, building supportive
relationships, maintaining a positive outlook, accepting that change is
natural, establishing personal priorities, practicing time management,
moving decisively toward realistic goals, and adequately attending to
personal health needs are important factors in building resiliency.
Additional recommendations and resources may be found at http://www.apahelpcenter.org.
Bruce Elliott, M.D., reviewed the critical impact of hands-on
mentoring, and I reminded attendees that our destiny is in our own
hands, as we strive to function with ever-lessening state
support. People are clearly our greatest asset—you make MUSC what
it is. How we treat each other says a great deal about who we are, and
as we strive for excellence it is absolutely essential that we make
MUSC a place we want to be, through our actions and our interactions.
Friday, April 11, 2008
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