Transformational Physician Leadership: 10 Qualities

By O’Neil Pyke, MD

Before we talk about physician leadership, we must first address the question, what is leadership? Here are some of my favorite definitions:

“A process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” – Martin M. Chambers, An Integrative Theory of Leadership

“Leadership is ultimately about creating a wall for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.” – Alan Keith of Genentech

Transformational leadership is even bigger than that. It requires the ability to create a change in the followers with the end goal of changing the followers into leaders. This is the realm of leadership into which physicians should place themselves. With this goal in mind, I present 10 qualities of a transformational physician leader:

Leads by Example
Documents Well
Society / Organization Member (SHM, ACEP, AANP, AAPA)
Handoffs are Structured and Effective
Puts Patients First

I conclude with an inspiring quote from Mother Teresa: “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”