Hopkins, Margaret M.; O'Neil, Deborah A.; Hess, Caryl
Changing organizational and environmental dynamics present unique challenges to leaders in the field of health care. An accelerated emphasis on increasing the quality of health care delivery, containing costs, and restructuring the delivery of health care itself are redefining the very nature of health care and the roles of physicians as leaders. This empirical study examines the behaviors and competencies demonstrated by effective physician leaders. Through analyzing qualitative interview data from physician leaders, we found their predominant distinguishing competencies to be Empathy, Initiative, Emotional Self Awareness and Organizational Awareness. Communicating deliberately, getting buy-in from colleagues, focusing on the mission of the organization and showing respect for others were also discovered to be essential behaviors of effective physician leaders. These leaders actively sought to work with colleagues to obtain their input and consensus in order to enact organizational change and improve health care delivery in their institution. Importantly, their intentions were neither self focused nor self promoting but strongly altruistic. The results of this study contribute to our understanding of the defining behaviors and competencies that distinguish effective physician leadership.