leader vs bossAs we visit with doctors and healthcare practices around the country, it’s usually easy to sense excellence in organizational leadership…or problems. Fortunately, the good examples shine through with a culture of talented people—the doctor, management and staff—working in a positively charged atmosphere that you can almost feel in the air.

But then there are the not-so-good business environments with an unspoken static atmosphere. These are equally talented individuals, but the harmonious feel to the practice is obviously missing. There’s much more to making a proper diagnosis, but drilling down on the issues, the tough spot is often the difference between management and leadership.

Management and leadership are not the same critter. I like Peter Drucker’s contrast: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” As one example, there’s the highly organized office that is rigidly “managed.” Operational steps, procedures and routines are proscribed in never-to-vary detail.

In concept, there’s nothing wrong with good organization—until or unless both staff and management are locked into a rigid and static atmosphere. In this illustration, the penalty of management over leadership is a loss of personal pride in work, insensitivity to customer service and patient experience. Staff turnover is higher.

Be a leader, not a boss…

The most common differences between “boss” and “leader” include:

  • A boss knows how it’s done, but a leader shows how it’s done
  • A boss drives employees while a leader coaches
  • A boss commands and says “go,” but a leader asks, and says “let’s go”
  • A boss depends on authority while a leader depends on goodwill

Fortunately, good leadership training for doctors and their staff can inspire an amazing cultural shift, a greatly improved work environment and a new, harmonious feel to the practice that patients detect and appreciate.

Our training for health care providers and staff teaches leadership skills, including how to empower and develop others as leaders. A well-trained staff and top-level leadership create a more successful and lucrative practice.

And for further reading on this topic, see: 10 Leadership Habits of Marketing-Savvy Physicians.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf


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