Alexis Hutson

Coaching doctors Development workshops

Doctors as Non-Clinical Leaders

09 October 2014

Why is leadership in a non-clinical setting often hard to establish and maintain?

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 10.33.27 I’ve been running a few leadership sessions over the summer and it’s also a regular issue that comes up for individual coaching clients. You may be a divisional director, leading a research team, be a senior partner, managing an educational programme or part of a national project. Whatever the context, I hear the same difficulties regularly:
  • How can I engage others more effectively?
  • Why don’t people do what they say they will do?
  • How come everyone has a slightly different view of our goal?
  • Why isn’t this more straightforward?
Leading in a clinical setting can be less complicated. The lines of accountability are often clearer and as a Doctor, you are often the final decision-maker. But outside of this setting, it can get foggy. So what can you do? If we remember that leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal, then we are reminded that leadership itself is mostly about managing relationships. And in order to do this well, you have to manage yourself first. So any decent leadership programme requires self-development and reflection on your personal preferences. This is important because a crucial part of leadership is managing the balance of Context v Personal Preference. For example:
  • The context may be nebulous and ever-changing, but your preference is to get things decided and actioned quickly?
  • Your preference is to consider the impact in the long-term, but the context is to get value for money immediately?
Here are a few points to remember when you get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of messy leadership:
  • Remember that your personality preferences will affect the culture of the team – are these enablers or blockers to the context?
  • Remember that you can’t just focus on the task of the team – the individuals and whole group need leading too.
  • Remember that your clinical leadership skills are transferable – just make sure you reflect and review on how you use them.
  If you would like to talk over your leadership responsibilities call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at   Subscribe to these blogs..