Program Gives Boost to Rising Decision-makers in Academic Medicine
Though not waving mortarboards and freshly printed diplomas, a group of 59 Medical School faculty members recently graduated from a program to develop their skills as administrative leaders in academic medicine. The graduates represented 11 HMS-affiliated institutions, and they promised greater diversity in top leadership ranks, with 49 percent being women and 37 percent belonging to a minority group.
Called Leadership Development for Physicians and Scientists, the program marked its eighth year last month. It was designed for HMS and HSDM instructors, assistant professors and associate professors in the early stages of their administrative roles.
The course of study entails two and a half days of lectures and interactive sessions on leadership and career planning. For the last three years, Jeffrey Flier, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, has given the keynote address. The program also features a panel of CEOs from affiliated hospitals and presentations by senior faculty in administration, research, clinical medicine and medical education. Sessions address institutional organization, healthcare finance, legal and regulatory issues, and communication skills.
The program’s contributing organizations and institutes include the Office for Faculty Affairs, the Office for Diversity and Community Partnership, the Academy, and the Department of Continuing Education, all at HMS, and the offices for faculty development and diversity at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Physicians who attend earn CME and Risk Management credits in Massachusetts.
To get a better understanding of what the takeaway lessons are, Focus asked some of this year’s participants to answer this question:
What insight that you gained from the Leadership Development Program do you think you can apply most readily?
Their answers appear below. For further information about the program, see www.hms.harvard.edu/fa/leadership2010 or contact Tammy Brown, faculty development coordinator, at 617-432-1198 or email@example.com.
“I attended the course with the intent to learn how to develop a new research and clinical program in neurology and sleep medicine and to strategically plan the program so it can be a valuable asset to our department with the potential to grow into a division. The part of the course most readily applicable to this process was the insight I learned about the hierarchy at HMS and the promotion process—somewhat unexpectedly so. The open interaction with faculty, especially in small groups (for example, lunch discussions) helped me to synthesize the plan better. I also had an excellent and relevant discussion about the Catalyst program.”
“The course was so valuable and I obtained so many important leadership tools that it is difficult to put my finger on a single takeaway message. However, if I had to choose just one important message, it would be that leadership is a type of management. I realize now that there are many ways to manage my lab, but the best way is through being a leader. This involves maintaining the respect of students and employees, making it clear that they are appreciated, and leading by example.”
“One enlightening message to me was, ‘Create a motivating environment for the whole group, rather than just for one or a few individual members.’ I have started working on that already.”
“The insight I applied immediately was the use of ‘talking points’ for speaking with the media. I was contacted by Time magazine on my way home from the last day of the seminar and was able to formulate my own talking points on a journal article about tanning addiction. I stuck to my talking points and did not stray into unplanned topics.”
“I thought the course on leadership was truly outstanding. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with physicians and scientists from other Harvard hospitals. I found the talk on feedback to be extremely helpful and have already used the brief feedback approach demonstrated by Jo Shapiro in her masterful talk. I am now more aware of the significant role that management plays in motivating members of a clinical team.”
“I am grateful for many important insights from the program. If asked to identify only one, I would single out the exercise of developing a clear and compelling two-minute pitch. Like the oral presentation of a patient’s history, a lot of background and preparation goes into that high-impact two minutes. Getting it right seems a necessary (though obviously not sufficient) part of a leadership portfolio.”
“The most readily applied insight from the course for me came from Robert Amelio’s session on motivating and managing people. In this session we learned that setting expectations and communicating them effectively were important for helping to turn an individual’s talent and skills into performance.
The week after the course, I met with a member of my research team to discuss how well he understood my expectations of him. As we talked, I learned that while he understood what I expected, he did not always understand when I expected deliverables from him. This made it difficult for him to prioritize tasks, since he works not only with me, but also on projects with other investigators. I thought I had been giving him autonomy to work at his own pace, and he thought I was being vague. We agreed that, moving forward, I would provide specific deadlines when making requests, and he would either meet them or let me know when he was not going to be able to accomplish a task in the agreed-upon time frame. ”
“The most readily applicable insight is that within the Harvard system there is quite reasonable synergy between the things that matter most for promotion (moving to a national and then international presence) and progression in the role of leadership in the area of one’s expertise. It has been defined by those presenting at the course as a pattern of increasing recognition across time based upon demonstrated competence that leads to opportunity for growth and advancement. This construct will remain my framework to consider my decisions and choices as I look forward, and it will serve as an organized approach within what can be an overwhelming world of possibilities at Harvard Medical School and the affiliated hospitals.”
Copyright 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College