As a physician coach and practicing physician, I can assure you that of us crave encouragement. Whether we are just starting to walk as a toddler, or accepting a new position as a company CEO, our success can be enhanced by a word of encouragement. In the healthcare provider world, young physicians work their way through college, medical school, residency, and fellowship before they ever have what most would call a “real job.” Along this 13-15 year journey encouragement can be life-giving in an otherwise grueling schedule.
A few years ago, I was the staff physician assigned to cover the cardiology consult service at a large academic medical center. A second-year internal medicine resident from a neighboring community hospital happened to be doing an elective with us that week. He was theoretically less well trained than some of the other residents and fellows on service, but as a physician coach, I admired his enthusiasm, thirst for learning, and independent study efforts that far exceeded any of the others. Because of his demonstrated competence, I offered for him to write a review paper on a new technique with me. He eagerly accepted and one week later presented me with a 30-page manuscript complete with 180 references! Later, I encouraged him to apply for a cardiology fellowship and ultimately an interventional cardiology fellowship. One week of rounding with him and several weeks of encouragement finishing the manuscript profoundly impacted his career trajectory. As expected, he excelled in these advanced positions.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a first-year cardiology fellow doing heart catheterizations. Despite it being only his third day on the rotation, it was clear he was naturally gifted and had an excellent fund of practical knowledge. I encouraged him to assist in ways that typical fellows can’t perform until their third year of training. He rose to each challenge. At the end of only three days with him, I told him how impressed I was with his performance and encouraged him to strongly consider pursuing a career in interventional cardiology. His full story has yet to be written, but I believe encouragement from a senior colleague will make a difference for him. Remember, you don’t have to be vastly more senior to make an impact. You only need to be a few steps further along the path to encourage those walking with you. Leadership is not a title; it is the ability to act in a way that inspires others to follow you or your example.
For whom can you make a difference today? A fundamental leadership principle is to encourage and support those in your sphere who desire to grow and advance. Don’t underestimate the influence you can have! Be on the lookout today for someone to encourage. You won’t regret it!
Just like everyone craving encouragement, all of us can benefit from professional coaching to sharpen our skill sets and grow as leaders. Learn more about the growth opportunities Hodgson Leadership Solutions offers for medical providers. Visit the Healthcare Coaching page. You can download the complimentary white paper on the benefits of healthcare coaching.
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