Mixed surgical teams lead to less medical error..

From The Economist

Diverse surgical leadership promotes co-operation and decreases conflict

SURGEONS are people, and people are animals, and animals often fight. Which is why Frans de Waal, an expert on animal behaviour, has turned his attention to the operating theatre to see if the methods he honed studying chimpanzees might be used to improve surgical practice.

Dr de Waal—and, more particularly Laura Jones, his colleague at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who did the actual field work—used those methods to construct ethograms of surgical teams. An ethogram is a list of all the types of behaviour that occur within a group of animals. To draw up these lists Dr Jones observed interactions between 400 doctors, nurses and technicians during 200 operations. She logged all the non-technical communications she spotted, and classified them as “co-operative” (likely to lead to better surgical outcomes), “conflictive” (potentially jeopardising patient safety) or neutral.

Full article HERE you’ll probably need to log in.

I continue to be surprised by the relative inefficiency of dental practices – whilst a surgery isn’t a full theatre, the need for teamwork, support and cooperation are the same. Often it’s a result of poor training (of dentists as much as nurses) or an acceptance of lower standards.

It’s all examined in the Practice Business Health Check

Servant Leadership

I first came across the concept of Servant Leadership in Robert Greenleaf’s book.

Wikipaedia describes the concept thus, “the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Servant leadership turns the power pyramid upside down which puts the customer service associates at top of pyramid; instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people. When leaders shift their mindset and serve first, they unlock purpose and ingenuity in those around them, resulting in higher performance and engaged, fulfilled employees.”

In recent times I was impressed by Danny Meyer’s description of his use of the concept in his restaurants described in his excellent book, “Setting the Table”.

Traditional management is “top down”:

But something wonderful happens when you flip the structure:

The leader’s role is to serve and support the layer above them, no matter where or who they are.

You cannot have a dynamic organisation unless you are constantly encouraging people to improve and believing that they can do it.

Does it work? My personal experience says so and Suzanne Peterson and her colleagues showed that when CEOs are servant leaders, tech companies have significantly higher returns on assets over the next nine months, even after controlling for prior returns. HERE

Leadership is a multifaceted discipline take some time and consider this concept, you’ll be glad that you did.

 

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