AWIR president urges ‘transformational’ leadership, advocacy in health care
HILTON HEAD, S.C. — In the professional world, there are two types of leaders: transactional, a conventional approach that utilizes a system of rewards and punishments, and transformational, a newer approach focused on trust and emotional investment in employees.
In a special session here at the Association of Women in Rheumatology National Conference (AWIR), female leaders discussed the issues of transparency, negotiation and leadership as they pertain to women in all facets of business.
“Leadership is a critical component for any organization seeking to drive improvements in health care quality and patient safety — that’s where we live,” AWIR president and founder Grace Wright, MD, said during the Latte ‘N Learn session sponsored by Janssen. “What we’ve found is that we’re getting a regulatory, sort of top-down ‘do this, do that’ and that is going to drive quality and safety, but it’s never been shown that punitive measures actually drive quality and safety. What we’ve shown, and this has come up time and time again, is that if you change the leadership structure so that it leans toward empowerment, you change these qualities — there is a direct impact on this.”
Anne Winkler, MD, PhD, rheumatologist at Premiere Specialty Network, and Ethel Owen, CPC, administrator and past president of National Organization of Rheumatology Managers (NORM), joined Wright on stage, and together they tackled various obstacles professional women face, including the gender pay gap and personal advocacy, while highlighting solutions and providing action items.
“It’s very important that we understand that yes, this is about balancing inequities, but that ultimately impacts leadership, it impacts development of corporations and it impacts development of policies,” Wright said.
To promote transformational leadership, Wright outlined eight steps:
- Identify and understand the specific things that need to change.
- Stimulate people to think — especially creatively — and value their thoughts.
- Encourage participation.
- Have a talent for communication — both verbal and nonverbal.
- Develop a reasonable sense of loyalty.
- Have a sense of the bigger picture.
- Demonstrate personal integrity and lead by example.
- Be an inspiring presence.
By demonstrating these leadership qualities — shining a light, stimulating intellect and inspiring people — the end result is an employee who goes above and beyond the expected, minimal effort, which ultimately benefits both the individual and the organization in the long run.
“In this age of value-based systems of care, in this age of rewards for MIPS and penalties if you don’t get there, what better way to overcome this entire mud pit that we’re in than getting inspiration to get beyond this to transform what we see as the world that we’re stuck in,” Wright said. “There is so much discussion now within health care about a lot of the issues that many of us are very unhappy about, that others are happy about. How do we provide leadership, even within our organization and within all of your organizations, such that we transform the conversation and ultimately transform the outcomes?” – by Stacey L. Adams
For more information:
Wright GC, Winkler A, Owen E. Latte ‘N Learn. Presented at: AWIR National Conference; August 15-18, 2019; Hilton Head, S.C.
Disclosure: This session was sponsored by Janssen.