Doctors as leaders
The rise of medical leadership training
Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, said in his evidence to the inquiry investigating abnormally high mortality rates at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, that the poor care was caused partly by a “failure of clinical leadership.”1 Such comments highlight the fact that leadership is increasingly being seen as an essential feature of high performing healthcare teams, organisations, and systems.2 When leadership is poor or absent, the consequences can be devastating.23 Despite this, the concept of medical leadership remains somewhat nebulous and intangible to many people,4 though recognition of its importance is growing.
A unified definition of medical leadership remains elusive,5 but the many attempts centre on key elements, such as managing change, setting agendas, and influencing others.4 We suggest that leadership entails “getting results with and through people.”
Some clinicians regard leadership skills as necessary only for those doctors in a formal management role, such as trust medical director or president