Dr. Roberto asked the audience: How can we, no matter what our roles, overcome these traps and make wise, informed decisions at critical moments for our team, our organization and our profession? He advised the group that leaders build a climate of candor; leaders cultivate constructive conflict; and leaders invite debate to enhance the quality of the critical decisions they make. Leaders do not hide information that may be unpleasant or that may call their own opinion into question from the group.
It is important for leaders to “decide how to decide,” Dr. Roberto explained. Leaders must think proactively in decision-making situations. They consider which team members to ask for advice or information. They think about how to create a collaborative and candid climate within their team or organizational structure. They also stimulate robust dialogue among team members and encourage dissenting views to be heard.
Finally, they decide what their role will be as the leader in the team’s discussions and debates before the decision is made.
By deciding how to decide, leaders cultivate an environment in which their teams achieve success, because they put each team member in a position to succeed. Most importantly, by encouraging candid, but respectful, exchange of ideas and information, they enhance the probability that they will make the right decision, and protect themselves from decision-making traps. Dr.Roberto concluded his talk by pointing out that effective leaders need to be creative thinkers too, especially at a time when many organizations stifle creativity and out-of-the-box ideas. Learning how to effectively implement creative new ideas within different organizational settings has become an increasingly important area of focus in business and leadership development.
Following the conference, each participant received a copy of Dr. Roberto’s new book, Unlocking Creativity, which explores creativity in organizations, plus a reading list to serve as a starting point for further learning on aspects of effective leadership.
The ACR Cultivates Leaders
Our goal at the ACR, both with this conference and with our other educational offerings, is to enable us all to grow and evolve as professionals and as individuals. As physicians, we often struggle when we find ourselves in a leadership position: Our professional training does not include a primer on how to lead or courses in management science or strategy.
However, much of our hard wiring as physicians and rheumatology professionals may be fertile substrate for the nourishment and growth of our latent leadership abilities. We are, by nature and by virtue of our scientific background, individuals who are essentially “data-driven” in our work. We are also all dedicated to a life of service—to our patients, to our students, to our professional colleagues. These are our customers, if you will. And finally, we all strive for excellence, or being best in class at what we do. It may just be a matter of tapping each of these fundamental and deeply rooted characteristics (that is—being data driven, customer centric, best in class) and exploiting them in ways that will support and sustain us as we travel along our paths to becoming effective leaders.