Clinical leadership roles are a great way to advance your career and take it to the next level. They enhance your ability to make changes and increase your responsibility. They also often include an increase in pay, which never hurts.
Succeeding in a leadership role, however, can be difficult. There are many challenges clinical leaders face that may be unfamiliar. Knowing how to inspire and guide others can be very different from simply performing clinical tasks yourself. There are several steps that you can take to overcome these potential difficulties and succeed in a leadership role.
1. Be Willing to Learn
In order to build your clinical leadership skills, you must first be open to learning and developing your skillset. This can be difficult for some clinicians, as those chosen for leadership positions generally have a high level of knowledge in many areas. When it comes to leadership, however, you must realize that you need to learn to be able to make positive changes.
2. Set Goals
Goal-setting is an important part of building any skill. By clearly defining what you want to learn, when you want to learn it, and how you will measure your success, you will be better positioned to develop a plan and track your progress. Setting goals gives you something to aim for and helps you to measure your professional growth.
3. Build a Network
As a clinical leader, you will still need to rely on other team members to help you grow and develop. This will look different in a leadership position, as you will likely not interact as much with those in a similar role as yours. Because of this, you will need to be more intentional in how you network. By building a strong professional network, you will be better able to seek help and support in your leadership role.
Clinicians typically read more than your average person; however, much of this reading is clinically focused. While clinical leadership can be different from other types of leadership, many of the principles of leadership are the same regardless of the industry. You should consider reading information about leadership from many sources, not just from clinician-focused sources. This will build your leadership knowledge and give you better insights into how to succeed in this role.
5. Seek Opportunities
The more opportunities you have in leadership positions and the more practice you have in various leadership roles, the more adept you will become. Seeking additional leadership opportunities can help expose you to a diverse array of situations and build your leadership skills more quickly.
6. Stay Up-to-Date
As a leader, it is your responsibility to serve as a resource for your team. This means that you should stay as up-to-date as possible with the latest trends and research in your specific clinical area. By keeping up with new research and clinical information, you will be better able to guide and teach your team.
7. Get Feedback
Knowing how you are performing as a leader can be difficult because you can’t really know how others perceive you. To counteract this weakness, you should seek feedback on how others regard you and if there are areas for potential improvement. This feedback should be solicited from both your team and your fellow leaders. Both groups will be able to provide a unique perspective on your performance.
8. Build Resilience
Leadership involves difficult conversations and hard decisions. While most clinical leaders are already familiar with the stresses of providing clinical care, the stresses of leadership responsibilities can be difficult in a different way. Clinical leaders should take time to focus on learning how to build their resilience and practice implementing what they have learned in their role.
9. Focus on Others
As a leader, your priorities will shift to focus more on improving others. Good leaders care about the development and well-being of their team. Leaders know that they should communicate a caring attitude to their team; however, some leaders fail to recognize that the best way to do this is by focusing on genuinely caring. If you focus on developing a genuine desire to help those under you, you will naturally be a better leader.
In summary, being a leader can be difficult and unfamiliar to many clinicians. By focusing on setting and achieving professional goals and building relationships, both with their team and with other leaders, a clinical leader will be best positioned for success.