Let go: Transitioning to Manager means Letting Go of Being the Expert
The Australian College of Health Service Managers released the first issue of their new journal – The Health Leader (Vol 1, Issue 1) this month (September 2014). One of the central themes of the issue was the transition from clinician to manager, which I am passionate about.
I was particularly taken with the Andrew Jeffreys’ article. Being a surgeon, he presented the following 10 tips for clinicians transitioning to a clinical manager:
1. Be a competent clinician
2. Develop your emotional intelligence
3. Recognise when you need to be leading versus managing
4. Develop a vital workplace
5. Don’t let too many monkeys climb on your back!
6. Get qualified: It’s a learned skill like any other.
7. Avoid the myth of the complete leader
8. Save and spend your political capital wisely
9. Develop resilience
10. Don’t expect your job to satisfy all your psychological needs – get that balance right.
The Challenge: Be a Competent Clinician
|The challenge is the need to be a competent clinician.
|The one tip that I would challenge is the need to be a competent clinician. I agree that this is considered important in building the manager’s credibility with their clinical staff. I think the real driver behind this perspective is that clinical staff and the manager don’t really understand the role of management – so they default to the roles they do understand and that is clinical. A manager doing their staff’s clinical work is unsustainable – eventually, they will have to raise their focus from the health of patients, to the health of their team and their organisation.
My challenge to clinical managers is to make their people feel like they are the clinical experts so that can operate as autonomous individuals in collaboration with their peers.