Stuart Weinstein, MD, is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City. He has spent his 40-year career focused on practicing medicine and researching outcomes for pediatric orthopedic conditions, primarily spinal deformities and hip disorders.
Dr. Weinstein recently gave an OrthoTalk about leadership, which was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. OrthoTalk is a product of The American Orthopaedic Association.
Here are key points from his article:
1. As a child, Dr. Weinstein watched his parents partake in community organizing to make improvements to schools and neighborhoods in his community. "From my parents, I realized that sitting on the sidelines and hoping or assuming that someone else would improve things was not an option," he wrote.
2. Throughout his career, Dr. Weinstein has taken on leadership positions including the presidency of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America. He maintained the same goal with each position: "to leave the organization stronger, more focused and better positioned to face future challenges."
3. The most successful leaders realize success can't be achieved alone, and Dr. Weinstein makes a point to say "thank you" to those who have helped him along the way.
4. Leaders impose their will in several ways; Dr. Weinstein has seen leaders who imposed their will through intimidation or strength of an "all-knowing" personality. He sees these tactics as negative and stifling new ideas as well as critical thinking.
5. Dr. Weinstein abides by the 80/20 rule: the best leaders listen 80 percent of the time and speak 20 percent of the time. He also finds the most effective leaders are "principled and inclusive." The best leaders aren't self-promotional but instead rally others around the "greater good of the organization."
6. The best leaders inspire confidence, he said, and lead by example. They are also self-aware and able to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and then surround themselves with others who fill those gaps. Dr. Weinstein said he always wants to be surrounded by people who are smarter than him.
7. Delegation is important, but Dr. Weinstein also argued that effective leaders have in-depth knowledge of the organization and issues, and are focused on leading the team to achieve goals. Leaders set the tone for discussions and make sure all participants have a chance to contribute.
8. "Leadership is not about popularity; it is about civility," Dr. Weinstein said. He touted treating all team members with respect and making sure to sincerely recognize those who deserve praise.
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