The following is an excerpt from my book: Face to Face: A Leadership Guide for Healthcare Professionals and Entrepreneurs.
Each of us can create a legacy of significance. Leadership is a perfect vehicle for achieving significance because it is, by its very nature, other-focused. Leadership is not a position, but rather an emotional connection between a leader and follower. No one can lead without this emotional connection, and we connect by making leadership about them, not us.
The more we focus our attention and direct our efforts outwardly, the stronger the connection we create with our followers, and the more we become what Tony Dungy describes as a mentor leader. Such leadership is characterized by our willingness to abandon our lecturing and to come down from our soapbox so that we can walk beside those we lead. This form of face-to-face leadership can only be effective if we lower our shields and accept the vulnerability that makes us human, and in doing so we elevate ourselves and our message to a level of significance that removes all the barriers between us and those we lead.
What a wonderful and enduring gift it would be to leave a young professional the roadmap to significance through leadership. Think of what it would mean if each of us could learn to lead for the benefit of others and then pass this knowledge and commitment to our successors. Think of how much more fulfilled they would be having acquired this skill and knowledge early in their careers rather than desperately seeking validation for their years of clinical practice as they near retirement. I find the contrast between these two scenarios to be quite striking and sobering.
Consider what a legacy of leadership would mean to our professions. Developing a core of young mentor leaders who are committed to perpetuating this legacy will, over time, create an exponential growth of effective leadership within our healthcare professions. I can think of no greater need for the healthcare profession, at this point in history, than an increase of leaders from within our ranks. It will be these leaders that someday take back the reins of healthcare reform and dictate its future based on the needs of our patients.
Throughout my life, I have always believed that good begets good, or as some may say, what goes around comes around. There is no better example of the truth of this statement than our commitment to leave a legacy of leadership.
Do you want to read more? Get your own copy of Face to Face: A Leadership Guide For Healthcare Professionals and Entrepreneurs.
Dr. Joel Small and Dr. Edwin McDonald, the founders of Line of Sight Coaching, are dental practitioners, authors, speakers and Business Leadership Coaches who work with healthcare professionals to help them build more successful practices so they can live the balanced life they seek.