Friday, June 25, 2010

Leadership & Body Language

Leadership Choices

I met with a physician administrator at a hospital recently. I know him primarily through my work in patient safety. I have learned over the years it becomes easy to notice physicians or administrators who are serious about patient safety and /or patient centered care.

The first thing he did was pull his chair away from his desk. The desk often acts as a barrier. He wanted to show me that there were no barriers and that we were “equal” when I came into his office. I have always admired this man for who he is, and now I was able to admire him for what he does.

He never looked at his watch. This almost became distracting to me as I started to wonder how long I was there and why he never looked at his watch. I started to wonder if there was a hidden clock behind my head and later learned there wasn’t. When I felt the meeting was over and left, I learned it was just about an hour. I would have never known that it was time to leave from him.

Finally, when his phone rang, he never flinched. He never looked at it ringing, never made a move to answer it. I was the only thing that mattered.

These behaviors are not instincts we are born with. When a phone rings it is an automatic move to answer it. These are learned traits that make someone special and serious about his or her work in patient centered care. It makes me realize that, as guests in the corporate world whether hospitals, doctors offices or another, we should expect nothing less .

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