For doctors, technical skills and accolades can only get them so far with their patients if they lack the ability to make a human connection, display compassion, and build trust.
Any physician’s level of leadership, influence, and even credibility can be hindered if they struggle with traits like self-awareness, empathy, or active listening. Patients will be so turned off by the doctor’s low EQ that they won’t even care how high their IQ is.
All of these skills are part of a greater system of personal and leadership development called emotional intelligence.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to identify, comprehend, and regulate their own emotions, as well as identify, comprehend, and influence the emotions of other people.
This not only covers the ability to recognize and name our emotions, but it also requires us to take ownership of those feelings and manage our behaviors as a response.
What is your first instinct when you encounter a patient who has a negative attitude? What emotions do you experience when a coworker raises conflict with you and how do you work through those emotions? How do you respond when your team or a patient does not follow your directions?
These questions may uncover some gaps in your emotional intelligence.
Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important in Healthcare?
Allowing our emotions to run the show significantly impacts our decision-making abilities and interpersonal skills.
The first step in combating this is being able to identify what we are feeling, understanding why we feel that way, and then rationally forming a response that will address the problem at hand without undermining our influence as a caring, trustworthy, integrous leader.
Emotional intelligence helps us navigate difficult but necessary conversations, regulate our emotions when we feel upset and overwhelmed, take control of our temperament, resolve conflicts, encourage and motivate others, improve collaboration with fellow staff members, and create an environment where patients feel heard, safe, and cared for.
When doctors display high emotional intelligence, the patient understands that not only is their provider concerned about making them better, but they also feel like they care for them as an individual. Studies have shown that this level of trust and connection between a patient and their provider actually has the power to influence a patient’s ability to get better.
Why Do So Many Doctors Struggle with Emotional Intelligence?
For doctors and anyone else working in the healthcare industry, much of the training focuses on knowledge and skills, often omitting the assessment of their leadership acumen and people-skills. This disconnect is amplified by the lack of leadership training most healthcare professionals do not receive.
I call this the “Healthcare Leadership Gap.”
Due to this lack of training, these men and women are expected to learn how to effectively lead their teams on the job with limited resources and in a high-stress environment. This situation usually snowballs into problems that negatively affect their patients, their peers, and their own success.
In this video, I explain why emotional intelligence is so important for doctors specifically.
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About Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC.
Do you want to increase your impact? Do you want to increase profits under your leadership? Do you want to develop and use your abilities to the fullest to better connect with and lead others? Executive Leadership Coaching covers these bases. Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC, has more than 30 years of successful executive leadership coaching in the United States and internationally.
As a licensed pharmacist, he is particularly passionate about helping develop effective leaders in the healthcare community. Dr. Wilkerson has coached and trained thousands of managers and leaders. He is a certified coach and member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
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