Leaders plan for the future, while managers concentrate on the task at hand.
Stephen Wagner, chief executive officer of the Sanger Clinic in Charlotte, N.C., will focus on such differences in the MGMA session "Physician leadership vs. administrative skill" set for 3: 15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20. Sanger Clinic employs 55 cardiac and vascular physicians.
Management pursues clear outcomes based on current structure, while leadership is ambiguous and tries to adapt to the changing world, Wagner says.
In his presentation, Wagner will discuss various attributes of leadership.
Leaders must adapt to change. In today's healthcare environment, consumers seek more knowledge and question authority, even the authority of physicians to prescribe certain medications. The changes in healthcare require changes in the leadership structure, he says.
"It won't be a top-down administrative structure," Wagner says. "If you have that dictatorial structure and you're dealing with internal employees that way, that's also the way you project yourself to the customer. I think a lot of leadership is about building relationships. Leaders should treat employees and patients the same that they want to be treated."
Leaders must develop a vision that is consistent with their personal vision. "A good leader would be able to change an organization's goals and mission and bring it in line with their own. If not, they will be in constant conflict with themselves and headed toward burnout," Wagner says. "You need to be able to tell the story of what your organization is about. It should be your own story, not one you made up."
Passion is also an important component in leadership, Wagner says. The competitive healthcare marketplace forces institutions and administrators to focus on pragmatic issues such as improved collections and other bottom-line issues. "What's missing is the passion for what we're doing," he says. "A lot of times passion will spark progress."
Leaders also need to use their power effectively. "Power is highly abused in today's society," Wagner says. Leaders should have a correct perception of their own position in the organization and use their power to build relationships, he adds. "On a group-practice level, we have to talk about a transformation from the individual to the group. So many groups are at odds with each other, trying to sort out internal issues, when real threats come and run them over."