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Leadership Tools for Hospitalists


  • Command of Clinical Care. “First and foremost, you have to be a good hospitalist,” Dr. George says. “You cannot lead a group of physicians unless they respect the quality of your medical care.”
  • Transformational leadership. “This is inspiring members of an organization toward a common vision and getting workers to invest energies beyond their own self-interest,” Dr. Carnes says. “That includes things like mentoring your subordinates and taking a personal interest in trying to form a community.”
  • Vision/strategic thinking. “You need to understand where your organization is today and envision what the threats to the organization could be or the opportunities for the organization,” Dr. Gorman says. “If a leader doesn’t have an idea of the direction they should go, then they can’t really lead anywhere.”
  • Communication. “You have to be able to communicate with a large, diverse audience that includes your colleagues, the administration of the hospital, providers in the community, and your supervisor or direct report,” Dr. Bell says.
  • Active listening. “This is really being able to listen to what an individual is saying and what they’re not saying, and to set aside your own preconceived notions, opinions, filters, and judgments, so that you’re truly hearing what the other person has to say,” Cannon says.
  • Consensus-building. “A good leader has the ability to work with others, break down barriers, and get that buy-in,” Dr. Ammann says. “The more people you can bring into a project to work on it together, the better.”
  • Determination. “If you have a goal, you have to really be steadfast in achieving it,” Dr. Satpathy says. “You’re going to have so many pitfalls along the way that you can’t ever just say, ‘This isn’t going to work.’”
  • Open-mindedness. “You have to be able to be unbiased─i.e., try to evaluate whatever the circumstance is from more than one perspective,” Dr. Bell says. “When an issue or problem is brought to you, you really need to hear both sides of the story before you reach a conclusion.”
  • Willingness to seek advice. “If you have a view of where you want to go and you’re not getting there, find the right people who can give you some thoughts on how you can approach the issue,” Dr. Gorman says.
  • Managerial competence. “If the practice is not financially viable, then the practice will cease to exist,” Dr. Bell says. “So you have to understand the balance between the financial realities and clinical needs of the practice.”

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