Hail to the Chief
Doctor Daughter Rachel is a second-year resident physician in
family practice in Farmington Hills, Mich. She recently sent
me her resume, asking me to review it and offer any
suggestions. She noted at the end of her request that all of
the information on the resume was accurate.
This was her way of announcing
that she has been appointed as the chief hospital resident.
She is now Chief Daughter Doctor Rachel. This was not at all
an arrogant, trumpet-blaring method of announcing a wonderful
event. Rather, it was almost business as usual.
When I asked her if the duties of
chief resident meant some form of supervision of the
150-member medical resident population, she said that rather
she will be the voice of the residents to the board of
directors of the hospital and to other physicians. Her job
will be to create and monitor the support needed for their
maximum medical skills development. As their servant-leader,
she will be their advocate and their source of support and
concept of a servant-leader is critical to our happiness and
our development as professionals. There are several
characteristics that I hope readers of the HR Doctor articles
carefully consider and take to heart. The first is the idea
that to gain respect and power, the thing to do is give away
information and give away opportunities to others instead of
keeping them to yourself and hoarding them.
a recent "diagnostic" visit to a fire department with a
troubled management group, the HR Doctor noted comments from
an effective staff member. She was very frustrated by the fact
that her work was apparently unrecognized - and probably
disrespected, by the demeanor of her boss - and, in fact,
the boss would take her work, white-out her name and put his
name on it. She felt frustrated, disappointed and disaffected.
This was not the result of organizational trouble but of an
individual style creating trouble where it need not
servant-leader, on the other hand, would not only recognize
and praise her achievements, but would be ready to challenge
her to go further in her professional career, try new
assignments and accept new responsibilities that broaden her
ability to contribute. The servant-leader would never use
Secondly, a servant-leader has a
primary mission of controlling uncertainty for other people
and for the organization for itself.
control of uncertainty, as the HR Doctor has noted in past
articles, is the FUNDAMENTAL executive skill for success. It
transcends even effective presentations and communication,
although the latter is also a very necessary and powerful tool
in the executives success inventory.
Controlling uncertainty means
clearly setting forth a vision that inspires and challenges.
It means enlisting others to join your army of colleagues with
the same vision and the same sense of direction. It means
keeping people informed and ensuring that you are open to
being informed by them about facts on the ground even if you
dont like what you hear.
servant-leader is an appreciator. This is a person who finds
the best in people, and is a coach and mentor to others -
especially to young people beginning their careers or thinking
about what their futures could be like.
Recognition, appreciation and a
clear vision all come to together in a servant-leader. It
produces an infectious mix that helps great employees want to
stay with an organization to grow, and new employees want to
come and work there when an opportunity presents
Finally, the servant-leader
understands the great waste and tragedy of leadership through
arrogance. This person is on a mission of continual
self-examination and improvement. The servant-leader doesnt
have to be a physician to write prescriptions to avoid
arrogance and to follow them regularly. These are the key
characteristics for success at work and for a happy and
whether you are young Doctor Rachel or a senior citizen
volunteer helping in the community, however hard it may be for
you to move around or get around in a society built around the
car, it is possible to be a servant-leader. Indeed, it is
squander a lot of opportunities in our individual lives, in
our local communities and in our country. Dont squander the
opportunity to be successful personally, to be optimistic in
your outlook, and to focus on personal success through the
success that comes from making a difference in the lives of
dear Rachel, "Hail to the Chief," but a bigger hail to someone
growing and developing to be the Chief of Positive Attitude
and the Chief of Making a Positive Impact on the