Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Q&A with David M. Greer, author of Successful Leadership in Academic Medicine

David M. Greer

What inspired you to write Successful Leadership in Academic Medicine?

Great question. To be honest, I was surprised to find out that there wasn’t already a book on this subject, and that people weren’t talking about the importance of leadership in medicine. I have seen many examples of both good and bad leadership in medicine, mostly bad to be honest. I thought a book on basic principles of leadership in the academic medical community would be helpful. I certainly could have used a book like that when I got started in leadership!

What was the most surprising or interesting thing you discovered during your research for Successful Leadership in Academic Medicine?

I found that most leadership courses that are offered on a national level focus most of their teaching on managing finances, rather than managing people. Not that managing finances is not important in academic medical leadership, but more than 90% of your time is actually spent managing people, navigating difficult situations, and holding effective meetings.

Who are do you think will benefit most from reading this book? What are you hoping will be the impact of this book?

I’m hoping that this book with help leaders at any stage in academic medicine, all the way from a chief resident to a dean.

I would love to see people use this book to help them to be more effective leaders, understanding their place in the medical hierarchy, and helping them to most effectively lead their group so that people can best reach their potential. The leader is the servant to their group, the enabler of their happiness and fulfilment.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to people looking to improve their leadership skills in Academic Medicine?

Be practical. Most solutions are right in front of you, and if you’re patient, thoughtful, and a good listener, you will find them. Get rid of the “us vs. them” mentality – most groups in medicine are on the same team and don’t even realize it. Align your goals, point out the commonalities, and before you know it people will start working together more fruitfully.

Successful Leadership in Academic Medicine

About The Author

David M. Greer

David M Greer is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and the Richard B. Slifka Chief of Neurology at Boston Medical Center. H...

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