Follow the Leader in Healthcare

Blog Post By Joe Babaian
Leadership isn’t just about being popular and it’s certainly not about being draconian, Steve Jobs’ legacy notwithstanding. Leadership is all about identifying the range of skills and passions in your organization and leveraging for the mutual good.  Balance is another sign of great leadership since we know we need more than just the A players to make a team. We need extroverts AND introverts, we need logical AND feeling, we need the nexus of all the engaged people we lead or work with in pursuit of our joint goal.
Risk appears when we fall into a trap of fallacies and beliefs with little basis in reality. Some great examples of fallacies in the wellness industry are discussed in Witherspoon’s article,  Self-Fulfilling Fallacies of the Wellness Industry . Check it out for some background! Examples of self-fulfilling fallacies from the article:

If people understand their disease and mortality risk, they’ll naturally want to change their behavior.

Employees need an incentive/disincentive to improve health habits.

When we follow an idea, someone or their path, we need to look at the source of its/their success. These days with social media being a key part of healthcare growth, we can examine who and what we follow. Are we looking toward the true innovator, a passionate care-giver, a dedicated clinician, an empowering connector? If so, perfect! The risks and rewards are seen in the following graphics.
In the case of a self-fulfilling cycle of fame that grabs others and creates more and more support without actual, active “Getting Stuff Done,” we see the following. High regard from your peers leads to big attention to all of your opinions and publishing which leads to high citation rates and use of your work as references. Notice what’s missing? Right. The step that shows real changes in effect, helping real people and not just talk!

On the flip side, another cycle is powerful and it relates to our work and influencing others, but in a slightly different way. The Pygmalion Effect is best explained by this graphic:

You see the benefit of this cycle right away! Actions are at the top! This is pulling others up to a level they didn’t think was possible – high expectations leading towards an increase in performance.
Check out this well-reasoned article Being Honest About the Pygmalion Effect by Katherine Ellison in Discover.
Additionally, I know you will enjoy reading about the “3 Dangers of Charismatic Leadership”   in Inc. Author Brian Evje points out three key risks:
1. Leaders can become addicted to charisma
2. Organizations can become addicted to the charismatic leader
3. Charisma grows for its own sake and forgets its purpose
Let’s consider who and what we follow and how we lead. Opportunities are boundless and wasting time building egos isn’t...