As a physician leader, I am faced with many challenging problems in healthcare delivery. I have responsibility for many different aspects of care quality-timeliness, cost effectiveness, and safety, just to name a few. I have a large team of people who work with and for me. Among them are many talented individuals but, as in all systems, there is a range of abilities. In addition, not everyone feels a sense of urgency about solving problems, even when those problems directly impact patient outcomes. The factors contributing to this lack of sense of urgency include some that are structural-no one person may be responsible for a specific issue; others that are historic-I am a relatively new leader and for decades there was a lack of sense of individual responsibility; and still others that are personal-many were hired or promoted without regard to their problem solving abilities or sense of personal agency.
Since I was hired, in part, to solve problems, my tendency is to figure out the best solution and to manage-some might say micromanage-towards that. I have had quite a lot of success in getting things done with this management style. It doesn’t require others to be creative or to feel the sense of urgency as I describe above. However, in some cases, it ends up with me doing the job for them, which makes me resentful of being overworked and others resentful of being told what to do. I have been working on delegating more and reducing my oversight of projects, which is quite difficult but is a work in progress.
Recently, my organization has decided that leaders should be coaches who barely even suggest solutions but should somehow manage towards outcomes nonetheless by coaching team members. I find this next step extremely difficult and am really not sure how to transition to being this kind of leader.