Dr. Vandana Ahluwalia was the recipient of a 2019 ORADE Grant
I would like to thank the ORA for supporting me to attend the MOMENTUM Leadership course for women physician leaders held in Niagara on the Lake in May 2019.
Leadership is a skill that can be taught and is not always innately possessed by a good physician. Physicians are intelligent people, but often lack the skill set competencies for management because they have not been trained. Physicians rarely work in a team and are often not in alignment with the goals, vision and direction of large organizations. Physicians often focus on the single patient rather than focusing on system issues. They feel a singular sense of commitment to the individual patient and personal and professional regulatory obligations. A strategy for success requires setting goals, and assessing the outcome/ metrics of those goals for high level system issues which physicians can learn.
PEAK MD offers a course for up to 10 -12 female physicians who are in a leadership role or who would like to be in a leadership role, to improve their skills. This 5 day retreat is for like-minded colleagues, to help clarify their personal leadership direction while enhancing the requisite knowledge, skills and motivation to help mobilize their growth and performance.
The faculty included Dr. Mamta Gautam as the lead, who together with Monica Olsen and Mary Yates had a combined expertise of 75 years in physician leadership development.
The course involved didactic sessions, group work, and “circle time” at the end of the day to reflect on the days’ work with homework to be completed that evening. The course allowed female physicians to learn and reflect within an environment of psychological safety.
Some of the key learnings for me were:
- Women leaders lead differently than men. It is important to discover your own leadership style to get the outcome that you desire.
- Find your strengths and what energizes you; you may not be good at everything and it is important to focus on your strengths.
- It is helpful to have a Mentor who is usually an older, experienced advisor, or role model who invests time and effort to help you develop skills and It is also important to have a Reverse Mentor, a younger person who can teach you about current trends, technology or social media for example.
- It is necessary to develop confidence, grit and resilience to deal with whatever may come your way.
- Knowing when to say “YES” and when to say “No” so that you do not forgo spending time on the things that you want to do and time with your family. Take care of yourself first.
- Failing FAST- take risks and if you fail, let it go and don’t ruminate.
- This is the beginning of my leadership training, not the end.
This course is very useful for seasoned leaders who want to improve their skills as well as those emerging leaders who are new in the field. The 10 women who attended this course ranged in ages from 25 to 65 and all of them had something to offer to the group in different ways. I would highly recommend this course to any female physician would like to improve their expertise in this area.