The Art of Delegation

 

The Art of Delegation
Rob Melendez, MD, MBA
As you move along in
your leadership position as chief resident, stop and reflect on ways to involve
others more in your goals. As a leader, one of your jobs is to promote others. Seek to
include others in as many projects as possible. For example, as you begin
planning your goals for this year from creating a wet lab for your program to cre
ating a mock session for oral boards, invite others to chair one of those committees. If you do not have committees created, then take this time to create them. You will always have the title of chief resident and reap benefits from it, but think of others too who need help building their own leadership skills and portfolio.
Take assessment of your residency program to determine the weaknesses and create committees to create solutions for those deficiencies. By involving others, you are also practicing the art of delegation. This requires you to be willing to do any job yourself that you ask others to do. Delegation is not simply pawning a job off to someone that you would not do. Show extreme enthusiasm for any project to motivate the other residents. Remind them that you want them to take the lead on a specific project to help the program. If they are not motivated enough by improving your program, remind them that it will help them when they are applying to fellowship and for their first job. Obtaining planning and organizational skills during residency is great practice and will serve them well in future leadership positions. When we join a practice, we will be asked to oversee a project to improve the practice or department. Every resident should be given the opportunity to lead in a project to improve your program. I suggest creating a list of projects and solicit the residents’ ideas too and ask which one they want to implement. Can you imagine if every resident had one mini project to improve in their program? Our goal is to help every program improve and as a result will improve ophthalmology at large. Involve others.

What is groupthink?

Groupthink

Rob Melendez, MD, MBA

 

This term was coined by a social psychologist Irving Janis (1972). Groupthink occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgement.” Consider avoiding groupthink in your practice and while serving on committees.

 

When a practice experiences groupthink they can become too optimistic to the point that they take extreme risks. Individuals can also discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.

 

Symptoms of Groupthink

  1. Having an illusion of invulnerability
  1. Rationalizing poor decisions
  1. Believing in the group’s morality
  1. Sharing stereotypes which guide the decision
  1. Exercising direct pressure on others
  1. Not expressing your true feelings
  1. Maintaining an illusion of unanimity
  1. Using mindguards to protect the group from negative information

 

Recommendations to avoid Groupthink:

 

  1. Use a policy-forming group which reports to the larger group
  1. Having leader remain impartial
  1. Using different policy group for different tasks
  1. Dividing into groups and then discuss differences
  1. Discussing within sub-groups and then report back
  1. Using outside experts
  1. Using a Devil’s advocate to question all the group’s ideas
  1. Holding a s “second-chance meeting” to offer one last opportunity to choose another course of action.

 

Irving, Janis. (1972). Victims of groupthink. Boston: Houghton Mifflin; Irving, Janis. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascos. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

 

 

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