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HM16 Session Analysis: Lead Your Way to Success: Five Key Lessons for Hospitalists


Physicians Nasim Afsar, MD, SFHM, and Eric Howell, MD, SFHM, presented key leadership lessons to a standing-room-only audience at Hospital Medicine 2016, the “Year of the Hospitalist.” The value of leadership and management skills is important in every day decisions from co-management of patients to motivating your teams.

Dr. Afsar and Dr. Howell went into detailed tips for these leadership lessons:

  1. Decision-making bias. It is important to be aware of bias in decisions. A technique to evaluate a decision and “de-bias” is the WRAP process: Widen your options, Reality-test your assumptions, Attain distance before deciding, and Prepare to be wrong.
  2. Performance management. Feedback and 360 evaluations are helpful tools in appraising performance.
  3. Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is essential for non-routine high level work in medicine. Understanding the motivation of a team member is very useful to the team leader.
  4. Groups versus teams. The composition of a team is crucial to success. It is also important to be aware of team limitations and plan for these potential limitations.
  5. Persuasion and influence. Six principles of persuasion are:
  1. Demonstrate trustworthiness and expertise.
  2. Social proof. Highlight existing norms or set new norms.
  3. Highlight similarities.
  4. A win-win situation with concessions shows willingness to participate.
  5. Reach agreement.
  6. An option that appears to be a rare offer is more desirable.

Key Takeaways

  • Consistently using a standard decision-making process, such as WRAP, can ensure better decision making.
  • Financial compensation can be detrimental to intrinsic motivation and worsen performance.
  • Make a conscious decision about when you need a group to help make decisions versus a team to work towards a common goal.
  • Set specific goals for performance during feedback: include timeline, particular actions, and results that are expected.
  • Social proof can be a powerful tool in persuasion.
  • The SHM Leadership Academy is available to hospitalists interested in expanding leadership skills. TH

Dr. Hale is a pediatric hospitalist at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts University Medical Center in Boston, and a former member of Team Hospitalist.

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