Distilled words of wisdom from books

As a doctor you will spend your entire life interacting with peer’s, seniors, juniors and patients.

Believe it or not, it takes skill to interact with these people in an excellent manner.

This skill can be learnt…unless you’re an asshole in which case you think you’re already amazing.

Here are some excerpts from books which will make you a ‘better’ person.


I got a second hand version of ‘The Feiner points of leadership’ for £2.81 from Amazon.

You probably spend more on a pizza and can of coke than these books.

And rather than exiting your body as excrement and urine, the information from the books could positively change your character for the good of all those you interact with.

Here are some excerpts:


Welcome people aboard before they’re aboard

“As captain of Benfold [US navy ship], I was determined that new shipmates would never get the kind of non-welcome I received.

When I was assigned new officers, I sent them a welcome-aboard letter.

That put the onus on them to respond to my letter – and it told me a lot about what type of officer I was getting if I received a careless reply or non at all.”

(It’s our ship, Captain D.Michael Abrashoff, May 2008, page 13).


Did you feel welcome when you started your new job?

What will you do to welcome others when they plan on joining your ‘ship’?



Make sure you have backups

“As I’ve said before, I aimed to have Benfold four deep in people who could handle every job on board. But it was astonishing how many commanders were casual to the point of carelessness about training backups.”

(It’s our ship, Captain D.Michael Abrashoff, May 2008, page 164).


If there’s only one person who can do minor surgery at your GP practice, what happens when they go off sick for 3 months or on maternity leave for a year?

Try to have people who can handle these jobs as a back up within the rest of the team.



A challenge from the blue sets heads to thinking

“Shouldn’t occasional surprise challenges be a tool for business leaders to help sharpen their people agility in a crisis?”

(It’s our ship, Captain D.Michael Abrashoff, May 2008, page 42).


How about having mock scenarios of a patient having a transfusion reaction at 4.59pm when your all alone on the ward.

Will you hesitate and panic.

Or remain calm, quickly and systematically working through the management steps.



Spend time in the sewage system – even the guy in the lousiest job needs to know he’s vital

“Leading people is largely people-watching, a constant process of seeing and being seen all over your enterprise. For me that meant climbing down the ladder to the ship’s weakest link – its sewage system to Shaun Perkins the only technician working there. It was a crappy job in every sense. Every other day I made a point of visiting Shaun at his post. I couldn’t do much about his condition, but I could tell him that he was doing a great job, and we depended on him to keep the ship operating.

(It’s our ship, Captain D.Michael Abrashoff, May 2008, page 41).


Do you acknowledge the efforts of the silent workforce around you?

The HCA, pharmacists, secretaries, ward clerks, receptionists and cleaners?



The law of professional commitment

“Whether your boss gives a damn about you or not, as a leader you must commit yourself to your boss’s success. This means committing yourself to making your boss look good, and having a sense of ownership for his or her effectiveness and success. Now, this isn’t easy to feel if your boss is concerned only with his or her own success. That’s why this law is about professional commitment, not personal commitment. Nothing will say more about a leader’s character than his or her willingness to try to make a bad boss look good, and to persevere in the attempt whatever the results. Believe me, the rest of the organisation will take note.”

(The Feiner points of leadership, Michael Feiner. June 2004, page 78).


We all have nasty/stupid/incompetent bosses.

Can you overcome your hate to follow this advice?



The law of the career covenant

“The idea of the career covenant is that, in consideration of your committing to your boss’s success (i.e the law above), you have a right to receive certain things. First, you need the benefit of your boss’s coaching on your skill development, especially if your early in your career. Second, you have a right to expect performance feedback at intervals you would find helpful. Third, you’ll want career counsel and sponsorship on the kinds of opportunities and promotional tracks that are available in your organisation. Fourth, if you’re new to the organisation you’ll need a heads-up from time to time on how things work in the culture – those unwritten tribal rituals and taboos that exist in every organisation.”

(The Feiner points of leadership, Michael Feiner. June 2004, page 80).


Is your senior providing you with these skill sets?

If not, isn’t it time to have a sit down to request them?



The law of the silent sinner

“Very often, the decisions that take us away from the ethical path are made alone, in isolation. Most of us are smart enough to know an ethical dilemma when we see one, and the natural response, if we’re considering bending the rules, is to keep our thoughts to ourselves. You would be unlikely to asks your colleagues advice on whether or not to cheat on your spouse. So the ‘law of the silent sinner’ serves as a restraint on rushed, ill-conceived decisions. It states that if you can’t tell anyone what you’re doing, don’t do it !”.

(The Feiner points of leadership, Michael Feiner. June 2004, page 259).


Has the thought crossed your mind to break an important protocol?

If you do, is this the beginning of a slippery slope?

Is it really worth your career?

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