Physician Team Strategies

Physician Team Strategies, is a national healthcare leadership development company providing consulting to multi-disciplinary teams in healthcare organizations who want to build powerful, sustainable teams that make giant leaps in their performance.

Physician and Healthcare Leaders: Are You Making these 10 Critical Mistakes?


At the Harvard Business School Symposium, Imagining the Future of Leadership, 9 expert thinkers were asked the question “What is the biggest mistake a leader can make?”  This group of experts identified 10 critical mistakes.  In addition to listing the ten mistakes I will identify the potential impact of these mistakes on an organization and team.  As you read through the mistakes, consider the impact on your organization and team. Feel free to leave comments.

1. Putting your own interests ahead of the best interests of the organization or institution you represent. –Bill George, Professor, Harvard Business School and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic

Impact:  Others will not follow you; you loose credibility

2. Betraying trust. — Evan Wittenberg, Head of Global Leadership Development, Google, Inc.

Impact: Poor working relationships; Decreased retention; Decreased morale; Increased conflict

3. Being certain. — Dr. Ellen Langer, Professor, Harvard University

Impact: Failure to seek input from team; Team will not share critical information; Decreased innovation; poor decisions

4. Not living up to your values. — Andrew Pettigrew, Professor, Siad Business School, University of Oxford

Impact: Conflict between action and values; Not attracting qualified team members; not being a role model and walking the talk; distrust

5. Being overly enamored with your vision. — Gianpiero Petriglieri, Affiliate Professor of Organizational Behavior, INSEAD

Impact: Passion becomes an obsession; Unable to make unbiased decisions; Continuing on a course which is not relevant anymore

6. Displaying personal arrogance. — Carl Sloane, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School

Impact: Team demotivated; Increased potential you will make mistakes; Team will not let you know of mistakes which impacts patient safety; Increased potential for legal liability

7. Acting too fact. — Jonathan Doochin, Leadership Institute at Harvard College

Impact: Not having all the facts can lead to poor decisions; Not getting input from team can lead to not knowing the unintended consequences; Cost you money; May need to backtrack

8. Giving off an attitude that it’s all about the leader. — Scott Snook, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School and retired Colonel, US Army Corps of Engineers

Impact: People want a mission larger than themselves (example: providing quality patient care) and this leadership attitude can lead to decreased retention; Staff will buy pass you; Competition of team to look after their own interests, since you the leader are not a role model of the servant leader

9. Being inauthentic and inconsistent. — Scott Snook, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School and retired Colonel, US Army Corps of Engineeers

Impact: Team is confused of who is showing up today if you are having mood swings; Lack of direction/mission/values; Mistrust; Decreased productivity

10. Not being self-reflective. — Daisy Wademan Dowling, Executive Director, Leadership Development at Morgan Stanley

Impact: Not understanding your impact on others and the role your play in it; You play the blame game; Increased stress

In future blog posts I will go into more detail on each of these mistakes. I will provide tips and tools on how to identify and overcome these mistakes.  Overcoming these barriers to become a successful leader involves developing leadership and interpersonal skills.  Develop a leadership style that is you and is positive and effective.  If you would like to explore how you can become a more effective physician leader, you are invited to schedule a free strategy session with me. Click here to schedule your strategy session.

A video is available of these experts answering the question “What is the biggest mistake a leader can make?”

Watch the video on the Harvard Business School web site. Click here.