“What is the end I seek, and what is the most practical way to get there?”
– Nelson Mandela
This blog entry isn’t so much about On Call scheduling, the scheduling process, or implementing the on-call scheduling software. It is about inspirational leadership in its various forms and team building. I am of the opinion that most successful physician schedulers are leaders and diplomats, even if they don’t carry an official title.
Such scheduler-leaders build team support by “leading from behind” and also coming to the front when strong leadership must be felt.
The building is much tougher than destroying. It is much easier to criticize the schedule and its fairness (or lack thereof) than to come up with something constructively new. It may also seem easier to “lead” by command, charisma, or coercion than leading from “behind”.
Mandela demonstrated considerable skill and political savvy to pull off what many deemed impossible: peacefully guiding South Africa through a period of radical turmoil and political transformation. He refused to succumb to revenge and the politics of hatred that large parts of the anti-apartheid movement wanted at that time. His public speeches, courage, and resilience prevented civil war.
As a politician, Mandela chose a pragmatic approach. He saw the world as nuanced and complex; simple explanations often didn’t correspond to reality. Great leaders do not lead by fear or force, but diplomacy and allow for such “grey” areas. They also know that abandoning a failed idea is a form of leadership too.
Even when a strategy has been well executed and the “ends” achieved, the means to the end will echo into the future.
Characteristics of Mandela Leadership: (based on “Leading Like Mandela” by Martin Kalungu-Banda)
A leader without a team may be a “hero” for a day, but will not achieve something long-term. “Mandela Leadership” will let others feel capable too. With the combined interest and contributions of other members of your group, sustainable change can take place and grow.
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