So I’ve just downed a pre-workout and am about to “Write in Overdrive“. Look, I haven’t read the book (I will), but I’m doing it.
Today, I thought I would write a little about my journey into health care leadership. I’m what you might term an accidental leader. I’m fiery and passionate, and am a man of extremes. I love those that are kind, and am enraged by injustice. You might say I’m a social warrior.
There are things I stand up against with passion. Simple things. It might be a rude conversation. Someone might be belittling someone else. I remember once being enraged by a health care professional not introducing themselves to me by their name. Reflecting on it, it doesn’t seem like much. But it angered me because I felt it is something that we just can’t afford to get wrong in health care. It’s the first step to compassionate care. How on earth can you build a relationship with someone if you don’t even know their name?
There was an entire campaign around it #hellomynameis. And you know what, it makes sense. When Dr Kate Granger, a doctor with terminal cancer, interacted intimately with the health care system, she realised fast what it was like to be a patient. One of her starkest observations on the quality of her care was that not all staff who approached her, introduced themselves to her.
So what’s all of this got to do with becoming an accidental leader? A lot, I think. I’ve agitated from the bottom up and have aligned myself quite naturally with people who have done the same. I’ve been very fortunate in that the opportunities that I’ve received have been because others have seen me for who I am and what I represent – truth (9 times out of 10, maybe more, I’m honest to a fault), integrity, and a commitment to doing the right things, not just doing things right.
So what has that meant practically? I’ve found myself in roles that have required me to step up to the plate and get the right things done. As a clinician, this is relatively easy for me to do in the consult room. I’m used to talking to people, square in the eyes, one on one, and paying attention to every word, every bodily gesture; empathising with them, because that’s what I do best. I’ve gone through my own share of personal challenges in life and so I have a knack for “getting people”.
I’ve been called a stabiliser – I bring peace, tranquillity and an open mind to any environment I enter. But I’m also a bit of a hot head. Very few people know that about me – but when they see it, they never forget it. Give me a bit of social injustice and it’ll set me right off.
The challenge I face now is, with what I know, finding a path forward, acquiring the right knowledge to get things done, and figuring out, out of all the things that enrage me, which one I would like to focus on solving.
So I read books, listen to people, listen to more people, and am starting to learn how to listen to myself.