Innovative ISMA program helps meet need for physicians to build leadership proficiency

By Sara Johnson, FACHE
Director, Executive Education
Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

More than half of all U.S. physicians are now employed by hospitals or large practices, according to the AMA. That means physicians need to know how to build consensus, adapt to organizational structures and systems and develop healthy collaborative relationships. Physicians want to learn these skills, but they are not taught in medical school. As the business of medicine changes, physicians want to have influence and a sense of control over their future. One physician put it this way: “I’d rather be the driver than the passenger.” 

According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, the professional society for health administrators, the fastest growing segment of its membership is physicians. Physicians across the country are seeking education and training to enhance their management and leadership skills, and Indiana physicians are among those seeking this support. 

‘Leadership listening’ matters
 Two of the most critical leadership skills are the ability to listen and emotional intelligence. Physicians are characteristically good at listening – to patients. However, great leaders listen to broad input to gain a variety of diverse ideas. Gaining diverse input is important in executive decision-making. We rarely have the “best idea in the room” until input from others has been received and considered. Leadership listening is not equivalent to doctor-patient listening and is a skill to be learned and practiced.

Emotional intelligence has been proven to be a more critical leadership quality than intelligence (think IQ), and a basic building block in emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Good leaders know themselves and the impact they have on others and manage that well. Likewise, leaders are likely to fail when they lack interest in growing their emotional intelligence and are unable to collaborate and negotiate as a leader or member of a team. Learning to listen and building emotional intelligence make these hallmarks of any great leadership development program.

For over 30 years, the faculty in Executive Education at IU’s O’Neill School have been providing training and education for managers and leaders in health care and health-related organizations. Using the O’Neill School’s Healthcare Innovation Leadership Institute as a model, ISMA and the Executive Education team designed a three-month, five-session program to provide physicians with easily accessible leadership development. Experienced faculty from various health-related organizations and agencies have created relevant material that physician participants can immediately understand and apply.

Relationships, skills targeted
The ISMA/IU program is designed to build skills and relationships within each cohort of participants. For relationship-building, two classes will be face to face. For additional skill-building and convenience, three classes will be online, with faculty and other members of the physician cohort. The final class takes place in person at ISMA’s office, where those who have completed the entire program will receive a Certificate of Achievement as a physician leader from IU and the O’Neill School’s Executive Education. This certificate not only reflects participants’ new expertise, but communicates a purposeful intent to grow as a physician leader and to strengthen each organization’s leadership team.

Sara Johnson is facilitator for the ISMA Physician Leadership Program, which helps physicians develop skills essential to leaders in today’s health care environment; hear more about the program from her in the video below. The Physician Leadership Program is accredited for 18.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.

The first cohort begins Friday, Nov. 22;
 sign up now >>