Fellow-in-Training Series: Hone Your Leadership Skills to Guide the Future of Health Care

Aug 27, 2018

Do you have to be born with self-confidence, intuition, energy and intelligence to become a leader? While some people may have traits that predispose them to become leaders, that doesn’t mean that you cannot learn these skills.

The term “leadership” refers to how leaders motivate, give directions, accomplish goals and empower their team. There is more than one way to lead a team of employees.

Marino Leon, MD, FASCP, director of the University of Florida Laboratories’ cytopathology unit, utilizes a participatory style of leadership, in which he often asks for input from team members before making a final decision.

“I am very supportive of my team. I try to be inclusive and listen to various perspectives to make an informed decision,” says Dr. Leon, who leads a team of six cytopathologists and five cytotechnologists.

He encourages participation from every member of the team, and seeks to tap into the unique areas of expertise that each team member has. Leadership courses should be integrated into the training of medical students very early on, he advises.

Dr. Leon also helps to develop the skills of those on his team. “Oftentimes, we have to train people to trust themselves. Occasionally, when I ask someone to take on a task, I sense their insecurity that they are up to the challenge. We have to empower them.”  

The key is to be aware of the different leadership styles and to recognize your own unique leadership style. It is also important to know how to adapt your behavior, communication skills and leadership style to be effective in a variety of workplace situations.

“In this rapidly changing healthcare environment, pathologists need to understand the importance of their contribution to healthcare reform and patient-centered care,” says Dr. Leon. “We have an opportunity to advance the patient experience and patient outcomes—both for individuals and the population as a whole—and to improve the manner of healthcare delivery.” 

The ASCP Leadership Institute’s higher-level approach to self-assessment and optimization of each leader’s role within broader systems is well designed to meet this challenge. Learn more by clicking here.