Navigating the organizational hierarchy can be difficult for physicians, who are accustomed to being “captain of the ship” when making clinical decisions, but leading up is essential to garnering the resources and support physicians need to do their jobs well. Seven skills can help.
1. Develop emotional intelligence. A lack of self-awareness and failure to slow down your reaction to strong emotions before responding can quickly damage your reputation and lessen your influence.
2. Use power and politics for good. Although these terms tend to have negative connotations, don’t avoid them. Instead, leverage them to bring about positive change in your organization.
3. Choose being effective over being right. Arguing to convince others that you are right may feel satisfying, but it may ultimately make you less effective.
4. Be intentional and prepared. Your words and actions affect the way others view you, so choose them carefully, with the ultimate goal in mind.
5. Help your supervisor. Understanding the limits of your supervisor’s authority, as well as his or her needs and goals, can help you view your issues from his or her perspective.
6. Disagree without being disagreeable. As you work through disagreements, keep the discussion focused on the issues at hand, not the other person. In other words, make the problem the problem.
7. Don't expect credit. If you expect to get credit for all (or even most) of your good ideas, you will quickly become frustrated and bitter. Instead, take pride in knowing that you have done your part, and trust that others have noticed your contribution and will respect you for not needing applause.
Adapted from “How to Lead Up in Your Organization.”
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