Become the leader you’ve been waiting for

New program nurtures the seeds that allow great leaders to grow

January 31, 2020

All surgeons are leaders …whether they want to be or not. It’s simply a fact of the operating room. The surgeon starts the case, chooses the music, and is the person everyone looks to for direction …especially in an emergency.

“One of our official goals as a department is to strive to provide trainees with the environment and tools to be great surgical leaders,” said Vice Chair of Education Dr. Jim Korndorffer. “However, developing into a good leader requires effort.  The Professional Development Leadership Program was developed to put a structure to that effort.”

The PD Leadership Program was established in June 2018 with the following course objectives:

1. Describe the fundamental principles of leadership development.

2. Identify and focus on personal leadership goals about which they are passionate. 

3. Recognize individual leadership potential and opportunities.

4. Evaluate effective and ineffective leadership in others and apply practical skills to leadership opportunities.

5. Recognize different methods of leadership and assign appropriate types to different situations.

6. Use specific communication strategies for negotiating and conducting difficult conversations.

Each PD resident on-campus partakes in seminars on topics from emotional intelligence and feedback to negotiation and influencing. Methods are varied, including 360-degree evaluations, guest speakers, case studies, review of critical leadership articles, and even discussion of leadership through reviews of leadership in shows or movies—both good and bad.

Nobody wants a leader that emulates the style of Michael Scott from The Office, so to avoid that, we can demonstrate the characteristics of inspirational leaders through movies like Remember the Titans. Coach Boone takes a diverse team of individuals with unique strengths and creates a strong team that learns to communicates and work together toward a common goal.

In addition to formal learning, the seminar series is an opportunity for wellness. Residents are invited beforehand to share a meal and their experiences.

“The PD Leadership seminar has been a highlight of my PD time,” said General Surgery Resident Dr. Wilson Alobuia. “The opportunity to learn from various thought-leaders on topics like leadership and effective communication has been an important part of my growth as a PD resident. These are skills that are essential to one’s success as a future leader in academic surgery.”

By Kristen Kayser
Administrative Manager of Education