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Leadership is a conversation: How this applies to medical leadership

by Phil Dourado May 28, 2008

 Demos, a UK-based think tank, just published a booklet called 'The Talking Cure'. Here's how Demos describes it (The 'NHS' is the UK's National Health Service):

"Published on 14th May, The Talking Cure pinpoints the relationship between health professionals and patients as key to the NHS’ future success. The report examines how these interactions have evolved as internet-savvy patients challenge doctors, and argues that effective health conversations depend on a move from professional paternalism to a new partnership between professionals and patients."

Moving from 'professional paternalism' to a dialog/dialogue where the infallibility of one side is not questioned also describes the journey from old-fashioned leadership to the leadership we all have to learn how to do today. Doctors were expected to lead the patient. This used to be done by instruction based on the instructor having greater knowledge. Now it's done by negotiation -  exactly the same as with how leadership needs to evolve. 

I'm doing some work with a fascinating guy called Alper Uktu, who runs the Turkish Management Centre. He said to me the other day "Leadership was a monologue, now it's a dialogue. And a dialogue isn't just two monologues." That's UK English spelling of 'dialog' if it looks odd to you. He's right. I also read somewhere that the art of conversation is the mythical '6th discipline' (after Peter Senge's other five) that leaders need to learn urgently, after years of thinking that leadership communication means telling people what to do and making motivational speeches. Again, that's absolutely right. Increasingly, leadership is conversation.

 This booklet helps us make sense of that move to dialogue and conversation, in a particular medical context. 

Anyway, it's a very well-written booklet about 50-odd pages long. Lots of lessons in it for leadership. There's a downloadable pdf version attached (click on it, below) or you can find the original on this link:



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