Physician advancement into positions of leadership largely has been based on credentials, seniority, clinical competency and political standing. These traits, however, do not necessarily make a strong leader.

According to a new report from the American Hospital Association's Physician Leadership Forum, physician leaders often receive little, if any, formal training in leadership or management on the journey from medical training to practice and leadership. In part, the medical school curriculum schedule and its focus on clinical skills and scientific education have not left room for leadership training, and the selection process for applicants has not focused on leadership criteria. Medical schools could do a better job of preparing the next generation of clinical leaders by expanding candidate search criteria to include nontraditional aspects, such as emotional intelligence, the report notes.

In addition to having strong clinical judgment and expertise, physician leaders also need to possess a combination of three capabilities to tackle the clinical needs of the organization.

Applied management skills, which include managing a team; managing a workforce; emotional intelligence; and making a commitment to lifelong learning

Analytical skills, which include clinical ability; financial leadership; process/systems management; and problem-solving

Strategic skills, which include environmental awareness; visioning; orientation to the environment and specific hospital needs; and initiative and recognition of the need to change

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