As I usually do, I'm sitting in the airport, on my way home from another meeting. I always enjoy collecting my thoughts and processing what has happened at a conference. My thanks to the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) for the opportunity to speak on Family Medicine Advocacy using Social Media. I was honored to be a part of a Family Medicine Leadership course that has been "reimagined" from one about a decade ago. TAFP also announced a year long leadership course named the "TAFP Family Medicine Leadership Experience."
During the leadership track yesterday, many questions came to my mind. Can you really teach leadership? Can people learn leadership, or is it something that you're born with? I guess what it really comes down to is that, yes, there are some leadership skills that can be taught. We talked about this during the sessions, but here what I think are some essential elements to a successful leadership course:
- Basic Leadership Literature: We talked about a variety of books that people recommended including Good To Great by Jim Collins, books by John Maxwell, books by Malcolm Gladwell, books by John Maxwell, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, books on American history, Physicians as Leaders by Perry Pugno & Mindi McKenna, and many more.
- Access To Leadership Stories from People In Your Industry: In this case, it was fascinating hearing stories from three TAFP past presidents, two of whom were also the president of the national academy. Not only did I get a sense of leadership history in our speciality, they also talked about missed opportunities, and what they learned from them. For me, not only do I learn from the successes of others, but also I learn from their mis-steps.
- Leadership Is Learning By Doing: In medical school, when it comes to performing procedures, the saying goes: "Learn One, Do One, and Teach One." All day, you can sit in a classroom and talk about tips and tricks, and you can hear stories from others. But, when it comes down to it, leadership comes down to practical application.
All that being said, here is the number one litmus test to know if you're a great leader: The Dance Floor Test. If you're at a party with fun music, can you get your non-dancing friends and colleagues out to the dance floor? If you can, then you're a great leader. How about that? LOL
It has been so much fun for me to visit different state chapters and see how they organize and conduct their meetings. TAFP reported that they had record attendance this year, of which I fully take credit for (hehe). This fabulous meeting is a credit to the awesome TAFP staff along with the Family Physician leaders. Check out the pics below...