What it takes to be a true orthopedic leader


There are several orthopedic leaders around the world making tough decisions and leading their team to greatness. But what separates the good orthopedic leaders from the great?

Google's definition of leadership, which comes from Oxford Languages, is "the action of leading a group of people or an organization." However, the act of leading in itself is a much more complex idea. To lead, one must have certain characteristics that set them apart from those who follow.

To be an orthopedic leader worth following, one must be more than simply good at what they do. For example, the way a leader interacts with patients and staff speaks volumes. 

"A stellar orthopedic leader should be able to combine clinical expertise, effective communication and compassionate leadership, while maintaining a commitment to patient care," Brett Shore, MD, orthopedic surgeon at DISC Sports & Spine Center in Marina del Rey, Calif., told Becker's. "While a deep understanding of orthopedic principles and techniques is critical, stellar leaders excel in conveying complex information to patterns and fostering open communication within their teams. This kind of leader should recognize the physical and emotional challenges patients face and should be dedicated to a patient-centric approach to care."

In addition to being a clinical expert and a compassionate individual, there is one trait that no great leader can lead without: character.

"One thing is for certain — if the orthopedic surgeon is not a person of character, then [all of their] responsibilities can crumble," Gregory Mundis Jr., MD, division chief of spine surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in San Diego, told Becker's. "An orthopedic surgeon with integrity and morality will advise the patient in a manner that reflects both poise and love, directing them on a path to recovery. The same individual will treat a colleague, researcher, staff member, hospital administrator, operating room personnel, family member and clinic personnel with kindness and respect. So ultimately, to be great in this field requires, in my opinion, the same fundamental trait that makes any human great. Character."

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