Leadership in the Medical Field: Part 1

Having strong leadership is vital to the success of any organization. In the medical field, though, leadership can make all the difference—not just to employees and the organization as a whole, but also to patients entrusting their care to that organization. The importance of having strong leadership in the medical field is growing more pronounced as experts understand how effective leadership can improve workplace morale, cut down on medical errors and improve overall patient care.

Because the medical field is so unique from other industries, it requires leaders whose skill sets may vary from what would be ideal in another industry. Even if you’re someone who hopes to work in the medical field but aren’t interested in becoming a manager yourself, it’s important to know what leadership traits will create a positive working environment for you. In this first installment of a two-part series about providing leadership in the medical field, we’ll review the qualities most essential to success.

Personal leadership

A strong leader in the medical field should possess a number of personal qualities. For one, self-awareness is key—by recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, leaders will be more effective at taking charge when necessary and delegating to others in certain instances. Integrity is paramount for any medical field leader, since there’s so much potential for unethical decisions to have a lasting negative impact on individual patients and the facility at large. Managing a variety of different tasks, responsibilities and expectations is something that can be displayed at lower levels of leadership and in the course of fulfilling other job duties. A good leader will also continue to pursue personal development to keep himself relevant and informed in an ever-changing field.

Managing a team

Teamwork is ever-present in the medical field, and the ease of that relationship is key to maintaining happy workers. If you’re in a medical assistant education program and on the hunt for a new job or soon will be, you’ll want to find a place where the leadership is creating a positive teamwork environment. That means developing personal relationships and networks within the facility, encouraging contribution and emphasizing the importance of team collaboration. That’s an appealing work environment for many prospective employees, and the benefits will trickle down to patients.

Adapting to change

Not every medical leader is eager to embrace changes coming to the industry. Whether those are related to government regulations, facilities procedure or even the methods of providing care to patients, a strong medical leader with good long-term prospects will accept that the field is bound to change over time. Rather than resist those changes, effective leadership should constantly be looking for ways to advance the quality of the care provided to patients. This adaptability is a great asset for employees as well, giving them greater assurances that their facility will continue to rank highly among its peers.

Most employees—particularly young professionals just entering the field—take their cues from leadership at the top of the organizational pyramid. But it’s also important to consider how leadership among coworkers can be instrumental in maintaining progressive attitudes about the quality of patient care.

Continue on to the second installment (Avaliable TBA) of this series to learn about how soft skills can provide workplace leadership in their own right.

Matt Herndon

Matt Herndon is a dad and husband who loves to write about almost anything, especially leadership development and family. He won't write about cats or politics. Connect with Matt.

Reader Interactions


  1. tufo says

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  2. Chris Jackson says

    Although it is important to be able to lead and to have strong leaders in the medical field, sometimes it’s also important to know how to set aside your desire to always be the leader and to work with others and follow another leader’s directions. I’d think a big group of people who are all trying to be the leader would be a recipe for disaster.



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