“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
Serving my colleagues as chairman of the department of hematology and medical oncology at the Cleveland Clinic has been my greatest honor and privilege. I am humbled to lead such compassionate, inquisitive, and accomplished clinician scientists during a time of great change in academic medicine. From the introduction of new therapies to the implementation of new operational processes, my team inspires me to extend my capability beyond what I ever thought possible. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow with them.
Serving as chair can be extraordinarily satisfying, but there are some parts of the job description that an aspiring chairperson should be aware of before seeking the position. These less savory – though necessary – aspects of the job are not explicitly stated in the advertisements in the back of a trade journal. Allow me to translate a typical advertisement. I copied this text from the first advertisement for a department chairperson that I found with a Google search:
Knowledge of and ability to apply professional medical principles, procedures, and techniques. Thorough knowledge of pharmacological agents used in patient treatment. Able to effectively manage and direct medical staff support activities while providing quality medical care. Able to receive detailed information through oral communications; express or exchange ideas by verbal communications. Excellent written and verbal communications, listening, and social skills. Able to interact effectively with people of varied educational, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds, skill levels, and value systems. Performs in a tactful and professional manner. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected. Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals.
1. “Knowledge of and ability to apply professional medical principles, procedures, and techniques. Thorough knowledge of pharmacological agents used in patient treatment.” You better be a good doctor because …
2. “Able to effectively manage and direct medical staff support activities while providing quality medical care.” You will still be seeing patients while supporting everybody else’s career development, signing off on vacations, setting call schedules, attesting to conflicts of interest, certifying competence, approving research projects, and attending administrative meetings.