Opportunities Abound for Leadership Development at UH

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UH Clinical Update - June | 2019

By Cliff Megerian, MD, FACS
President, UH Physician Network and System Institutes

I have been so fortunate throughout my career at University Hospitals to have had various opportunities afforded me for leadership. These pathways of my personal development have involved a number of parallel tracks. They have helped me become a better leader, physician and academician.

Most important to me was the mentoring and guidance of my senior colleagues and chairs as I developed from a “junior” into a seasoned surgeon. I constantly learned from my colleagues here at UH how to become the best physician I could be.

Similarly, as I moved up the academic ladder, I was fortunate to have a strong cadre of colleagues and mentors in the basic and clinical science research arena. They helped me devise concepts, apply for grants and write papers in a manner that allowed me to create a niche in the research world. This was what ultimately helped me become a professor.

My path as a leader was somewhat self-directed, and began about 15 years ago. I discovered a number of venues for learning clinical leadership skills, both formally and informally. But UH and its physicians’ organization recognizes now, and has over the past 10 years, that a formal manner of leadership development is absolutely necessary to produce the next generation of physician leaders in this organization.

For these reasons, I would like to briefly review the incredible array of leadership opportunities that have been created, and now upgraded.These form a set of offerings that any physician, regardless of level of experience, can use to build a portfolio that will propel them up the UH leadership competency ladder.

For example, the Anton Fellowship program is offered annually to all physicians at UH. It was created through an endowment by Carol and Arthur Anton, with the vision to help our academic medical center in the development of physician leaders. This program leverages a variety of learning vehicles – projects, classroom learning and essential programs -- for application in immediate and tangible ways. The capstone of the fellowship is a development program at Harvard University, which is designed specifically for physicians at academic health centers. This UH program, one year in duration, requires an application. Anywhere from one to three applicants are selected annually.

It became obvious to us, however, that we needed to create another set of learning modules that can be completed before one applies for the Anton fellowship or for similar external fellowships. If you go to the UH Digital Workplace (intranet) homepage under “Employee Resources,” you’ll find an array of opportunities under UH Leadership Institute. After logging in to the HR portal, courses can be found on the right side of the page. This starts with Critical Insights for Leaders, whereby one can select or perhaps visit all four leadership essential programs within the UH leadership framework.

For example:

• Leading in Health Care
• Inspiring Engagement
• Living the UH Service Culture
• Innovation by Design 

Innovation by Design can be taken remotely; the others are all in-person sessions.

We also have a series of elective workshops. My top recommendations for those are:

• Navigating Difficult Conversations
• Impact Through Influence
• Becoming a Visionary Leader
• Putting More Accountability in Your Culture 

We fully understand that personal development is required for one to evolve into the leadership sphere. So we have created a host of live webinars, usually lasting an hour, as well as online e-learning modules in the area of personal development. These include:

• Knowing Your Strengths
• Intro to Time Management
• Interpersonal Skills 

Similarly, most leadership personal development programs understand the need for people to effectively connect with others, especially colleagues. We have courses in this category, including Building Effective Working Relationships and How to Have a Win-Win Conversation.

Clearly the leaders of today and tomorrow have to understand our business, and therefore we also have courses such as Supporting Change in Health Care and Creative Problem-Solving. And finally, obviously the goal of all skill development, in leadership and in personal changes, is best measured in terms of how effective it is in enhancing the ability to deliver results. Within this vertical you will find a number of similar offerings.

As we have spent a great deal of time enhancing our physicians’ ability to grow clinically and academically, I firmly believe that successful physicians will avail themselves of these free offerings. My experience and observations show that these tools clearly allow physicians to make the most impact in the administrative arena.

There are also a number of additional leadership opportunities through our partner medical school at Case Western Reserve University, including continuing education certificates, the FLEX Professional Development Program for Women Faculty in the School of Medicine, as well as Executive Leadership for Women in Academics. These can be accessed through your department chair or institute leader.

Many of these courses have helped me a great deal; I continue to take them and courses like them. I hope you will take the time to recognize the value they can give to advancing your career and enjoyment at work.

The concept of acquiring more leadership skill may not always be at top of mind, but these courses offer great value. If you take them, I think you’ll agree.

For more information, please contact Sandra.Vince@UHhospitals.org.

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