At Clarity's Associate event in London, guest speaker Peter Lees, chief executive and medical director of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management spoke about medical experts transitioning to expert leaders.
There is a conundrum in medicine with the growth of formal clinical leadership roles. Often expert clinicians are expected to be able to morph into expert leaders. Due to his clinical experience, this is the position Peter found himself in. However, the skills required to fulfil each of the two roles are not the same and moving between the them presents unique challenges. However, a new faculty was established by all the UK medical royal colleges to help to professionalise medical leadership.
The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) was founded in 2011 with the main objective of improving medical leadership in order to an increase the standard of patient care. An early step in the life of the faculty has been to define the first standards of medical leadership and subsequently to establish fellowships to allow individuals to benchmark their leadership skills. The Faculty reviews leadership development across the world, publishes a journal, holds conferences, and more. The faculty also runs the prestigious National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellowship Scheme in England which allows junior doctors with an interest in leadership to spend a year working at the top of most of the NHS and healthcare related national bodies.
A further way to develop as a leader is to focus the type of development experienced. Horizontal development, where more information and skills are gained, encourages better performance at one’s current level, while vertical development allows a more complex and sophisticated way of thinking and is often gained through hands on experience. It enables a person to rise to a higher level of leadership and better cope with VUCA.
VUCA (as defined below) was originally a term used in the military world but has since been used in strategic leadership situations. It encourages a level of preparedness, anticipation, evolution and intervention, all qualities required by leaders to manage situations with unknown outcomes. To overcome VUCA, an individual first needs to understand the situation in order to understand what is needed to overcome it.
Volatile: change happens rapidly and on a large scale
Uncertain: the future cannot be predicted with any precision
Complex: challenges complicated by many factors; few single causes or solutions
Ambiguous: little clarity on what events mean and what effect they may have
People will always react differently to situations and will have their own style of leadership. According to Rooke & Torbert (2005), there are 7 different developmental action logics, which affect the style of leadership a person might take. Peter focused on three: Expert, Achiever and Strategist.
Experts (38% of people) tend to obsess over perfecting their knowledge. They have water-tight thinking, dismissing ideas that are not in line with their own and using hard data and logic to convince others. This can create problems at leadership level, as they can be so sure of their position that it becomes an issue when they are challenged. However, this same