Influential surgeons have the ability to help a health care institution
to grow, to improve resident education, and to bring about
the changes necessary to produce better patient outcomes.
Leaders know the value of paying
it forward. They know that they
build goodwill by extending
opportunities to the rest of the
team, allowing them to move
ahead. These opportunities
must be offered in a way that
is ethical and authentic.
Leading with authority is not
about exerting force, but rather
about being a trusted expert
on a specific area. Excellent
clinical performance is of the
highest importance on the
path to leadership in surgery.
Human nature seems to suggest
that individuals sometimes
desire things that are available
in limited quantities. One of
the best examples of using
scarcity to demonstrate value
can be found in sales, where
advertisements indicate a product
is available in limited supply
or for a limited time only. As a
health care provider, scarcity—
or rather, your availability—
can be a marker of your value
as a team leader. Successful
surgeon leaders excel at time
management. Maintain control
over your time commitments and
devote yourself to a limited but
meaningful number of activities.
Leaders are consensus builders.
They understand that having
the support of stakeholders, or
at least having them understand
the leader’s point of view, can
support the message and,
hopefully, lead to better results.
Aligning your goals with the
goals of your institution and your
team will allow for a successful
outcome for all parties involved.
Presenting your best self
Leaders exude and inspire
confidence in those around them.
Although confidence comes from
within, there is some evidence
that small interventions can affect
how we feel about ourselves and
our ability to lead with assurance.
In humans and other
mammals, testosterone levels
rise in individuals who hold
situational power. These levels
also increase in anticipation of
a competition and as a result
of a win; conversely, they drop
following a defeat. Cortisol levels
tend to increase in people who
feel less powerful and capable.
Carney and colleagues have
shown cortisol levels drop and
testosterone levels rise in healthy
volunteers who hold power poses
for 90 seconds or more. The same
study showed increased cortisol
in those individuals holding low-
power poses. Power poses may be
a quick fix to empower yourself
and perform better under stress.
However, building courage to
take on difficult situations is a
lifelong challenge. Being confident
and appearing confident to others
might be connected, but they are
not the same. Being able to see a
situation from a broad perspective
and without feeling defensive is
part of an ever-evolving mindset.
The role of the ACS
The ACS is committed to
providing surgeons with the skills
they need to be successful leaders.
The RAS-ACS provides all
members in training and the
early stages of their careers
with opportunities to get
involved in the activities of the
College; to serve on various
standing committees of the
organization; and to participate
in educational programs,
including free admission to
the ACS Clinical Congress to
those who register in advance.
Membership in the RAS-ACS
provides trainees and Associate