Physician's New ADL's -  Your Activities of Daily Leadership

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician's New ADL's -  Your Activities of Daily Leadership

When you are a master of your basic ADL's - life is easier.physician-leadership-activities-of-daily-leadership-ADLs.jpg

When you master the Activities of Daily Leadership - your practice gets easier too.

In this blog post, let me show you a next-level set of tools to stop working so hard, get home sooner and prevent physician burnout. The key is simple leadership skills performed on purpose every day. 

(Download the Quick Take and Action Plan Here)

Every physician I have ever met works too hard.

We carry too much of the load on our backs. We fail to see opportunities to delegate and never get close to real team-based care. This is learned behavior that happens for a simple but invisible reason ... the programming of our medical education.

fundamental currency

Four main character traits were hard wired into our consciousness via in the crucible of our residency training.  Here are the big four. Notice how each is a powerful block to sharing your work load with your team. 

  • Superhero - you should be able to diagnose, treat, understand, tolerate and withstand anything and everything. If you can't, there must be something wrong with  you. 
  • Lone Ranger - if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself.
  • Workaholic - the solution to any difficult issue is to work harder. Double down. Put your back into it.
  • Perfectionist - anything less than perfect is a failure - for you and any member of your team.

Take a person programmed to behave in these ways, toss them into the whirlwind of a modern medical practice and only one thing is going to happen ... doctors always work to hard, do too much and fail to use their teams effectively.

Enter Physician's New Activities of Daily Leadership

Most doctors must learn to overcome this programming. We must learn to lead our teams effectively -- in spite of the little voices of the Superhero, Workaholic, Lone Ranger Perfectionist in our head.

When I coach burned out doctors, these ADL's are tool number two we teach -- after the SqueeGee Breath from the One Minute Mindfulness Program.
1) We stop the downward spiral with that single breath tool
2) Then immediately lower  your workload by deploying one of the ADL's below to become a more effective leader.

How do you get your team to step up and happily share the load -- so you don't have to personally pick up and drag every task across the finish line? Leadership ADL's are the answer. 

Quick Question:
What are your current Activities of Daily Leadership?

physician-leadership-activities-of-daily-leadership-adls-physician-burnout.jpgMost doctors don't have an answer to that question ... so don't feel bad if you are scratching your head. Think about it though.

What do you do every day
to be a high quality leader
of a high performance team?

And if you don't have an answer to that question, please read on because you are working too hard for sure. 

Here is the Activities of Daily Leadership Master List

These are beginning list of options for your personal list of Leadership ADL's. 

  • If you are already doing one - regularly and with intention - that is one of your personal Leadership ADL's. Congratulations. Now consider choosing another and add in a new tool. More is better in this situation.
  • If you find you don't do any of these things right now ... we suggest you start with the Team Huddle. 
  • In either case remember the Plate Spinning Rule of Leadership Development applies here. Only dial in one new skill at a time. Your physician programming will have you wanting to do them all. Remember ... plate spinning ... one at a time. 

Activities of Daily Leadership

1) A well run Team Huddle at least once in every practice day. - full mini-training is here

Ideally, you and your team huddle immediately before any block of patient care visits. Always look for opportunities to huddle, no matter what your specialty. Bring in the team early, put out fires together, help them help you to share the load. For every minute you invest in a quality Team Huddle, you will save a minimum of five in your work day.

2) Look for opportunities to say thank you - early and often.

"Thanks for your hard work. We really appreciate it." (Note: Who do you owe a sincere thank you to right now. Make it happen on your next day at work.)

3) Look for opportunities to ask a question rather than give an order.

Help them figure things out and become more resourceful over time, instead of coming to you for every little thing. If you give orders and answer questions all the time, you are only making the team more dependent on you and guaranteeing more interruptions in the future.

4) Delegate with some elegance and grace.

Do not just dump on people and walk away. 

- Tell them what you want.
- Show them how to do it.
- Let them know that is just your way and if they can do it better, simpler, faster ... to show you how to get your approval.
- Follow up with them.
- Tweak as necessary using their ideas as well as yours.

5) Batch processing - full mini training here

6) Round on your people in addition to your patients.

Check in with your team members during the day and ask how they are doing. What is working and what is not. Ask how you can help them help you.

7) Hold well-run, monthly staff meetings - full mini-training is here

These meetings allow you and and your team to step out of the whirlwind and always be getting better and better at coordinating care and sharing the load.

8) Get to know your people as people too.

Do they have children, hobbies, tasks in your practice they really enjoy. Make human connections, dare to care and everything gets easier and more fulfilling.

9) Be on the lookout for your programming.

Notice when your programming pops up to sabotage you and your team. Unless you recognize the Workaholic, Superhero, Lone Ranger Perfectionist when they hijack you, that programming will drive you and your team both crazy.

Pick one of these Activities of Daily Leadership now, get started sharing the load more effectively and having more fun leading your team.


What ADL 2.0 have we left off this list?
What is one Activity of Daily Leadership do you find useful that we can add in above?

Tags: Physician Leadership