In my experience the best combination for the leadership of any healthcare organisation has two key elements.
FIRSTLY a doctor who is committed and interested in the leadership and management functions (but most important is still in touch with clinical practice - i.e. still meets patients!)
SECONDLY that doctor is supported by a manager who takes care of the detail.
In various leadership positions during my healthcare career I loved working alongside a doctor. Doctors in leadership positions, supported by good management make things happen.
Doctors carry far more influence than managers with their medical colleagues.
In an unhealthy manager-doctor relationship there will be a gulf between the manager and the doctor. Often, I’m sad to say, because of ego ‘competition’ about who is the leader.
The best managers recognise the doctor is the politically important figure and the manager role is a supportive one.
When I worked alongside a doctor who was leader, whenever I had a controversial thing to do I would always ‘use’ the doctor to help me get the message over to other medical staff.
Here is some revolutionary thinking for you – guess what?
Doctors take more notice of Doctors.
Some managers try to ‘take on’ doctors as if it is some sort of battle and the manager invariably loses that war.
I always took the view that my role as the manager was to facilitate change; implement plans and strategies; in summary make things happen. The doctor took the leadership/visionary role.
Despite what some managers like to believe, the REALITY is that doctors wield the most power, politically in healthcare.
When I worked in a management role with a doctor interested in the leadership management thing I cherished him/her and kept him/her happy by getting on with the detailed stuff of management while supporting the doc to make key leadership decisions.
Doctors are no different than the rest of us; they have exactly the same issues. If managers just get alongside them; take some time to get to know them; and work with them, there are so many win-win situations. I’ve seen managers fall on their sword because they didn’t understand this simplicity.