The theory of authentic leadership integrates and simplifies many concepts in the evolving topic of leadership development. Goleman’s model of four domains of emotional intelligence was significant in leadership education because the domains made the connection between competencies and leadership, adding clarity to the distinction between leading self and leading others (Goleman, Boyatis, & McKee, 2002). Emotional intelligence alerted us to the importance of relationships, especially between the leader and followers. Also, the introduction of leadership competencies provided momentum for new ways of learning leadership. The critical tool of coaching emerged as the way to learn through dialogue and conversations with beginnings in the 1990s through the practice of executive coaching in Europe (Kets de Vries & Korotov, 2007). Executive coaching became the way for teaching leaders goal orientation and helping them to shift from directional leadership styles to more relationship based modes. In executive coaching a learning space emerges; one where discovery and transformative experience are possible (De Haan, Berties, Day & Sills, 2010). Research on coaching for leadership development is substantive in education for physician and nurses, teachers, and in psychology (De Haan & Duckworth, 2012; Garcia, 2009). In business, Griffiths and Campbell (2009) noted the rapid growth of coaching during the 1990s; Levinson (2009) used case studies to measure the financial impact of coaching; and Bowser (2012) reported that coaching for leadership development contributed to the financial value of business.
Avolio (2012) made enormous contributions to the topic of leadership development, especially with his explanations of the full range leadership model. He continues to write and lead centres of leadership in American universities, most recently at the University of Washington. Avolio conceptualizes the process of leadership development by beginning with a validation of self by asking the powerful coaching questions that provoke leaders to reflect and question themselves. His personally reflects on his transition form one leadership role to another, giving evidence to the experience of leadership development in his published books. A keen sense of leader self-awareness guides the leader through the transition to a new role, by always being attentive to and mindful of where he is at this moment in time and where he wants to take his followers.
As cited by MacIntyre (2014), Avolio (2011) reveals the contrast emerging between management and leadership within the Western world. In North American organizations, the distinction began in the late 1980s as corporations struggled with the reality of global markets. Relevant to this paper is the definition of leadership that begins to characterize the behaviors of leaders and managers. Both managers and leaders acquire and manipulate the visible assets of land, buildings, equipment, computing power, and human capital. A consequence of globalization is the shift in the leader’s mindset that less tangible assets become the most significant: speed, learning and development, intellectual property, and big data. This contrast between managers and leaders continues. Characterizing leadership is the focus on the future, an eye on the horizon, in effort to prepare organizations better for the ambiguities of change.
Physician leadership relates to developing emerging leaders at all levels of health care organizations. Regardless of the industry domain, the developmental nature of leadership requires experiential learning that sensitizes the leader to the different contexts they encounter. Leadership development includes learning reflective practice, relationship building, and forming a community of like-minded leaders. Learning how to lead is an intricate and dynamic process, involving a readiness to change roles, giving leadership to others, and a keen sensitivity to awareness. Leadership involves a diversity of stakeholders in which the physician leader initiates the conversations. This requires an open systems mindset and the ability to go beyond technical specifics to influence a wider, inter-disciplinary team in health care context. Teaching physicians reflective practice in this era of distractability is one of the challenges of leadership development. The best way to address the barrier of distractability is to improve the meta-cognitive skills of the individual. Physicians may excel at problem-solving in a specifc area of medicine, yet leadership requires a very different way of thinking and learning. Leadership development is a combination of experiential learning and programmed learning, including the conceptual frameworks of leadership together with a practice field to integrate and apply the skills of leadership, such as self-discovery of leadership identity and a movement towards mindfulness. Integral to this learning is the support of other leaders in the community, who provide a mixture of collegiality and shared learning that helps to sustain the leader’s growth.
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