How to balance work and life? How to perform conscious leadership?

How to balance work and life?  How to perform conscious leadership.   I attended a lecture at University of Nevada Reno Medical School aimed to help balance self, family and work to “achieve success.”  Here are my take-home points…

Overview: This is the first year that more female matriculated to medical school (woot!  woot!).  Women only make up 39% of all US full-time faculty.   (UNR has 36%)  Women are more commonly the lower ranks of medical schools (meaning less of us are full professors).

Do female physicians make less than men?  Yes! Female doctors’ earnings were 28% lower than their male counterparts in 2017.  So, the gender pay gap for physicians is real and commensurate with other fields’ discrepancy. Women earn 10 to 30% less than men for the same work and it is getting worse for physicians.  This is a global problem and is published by the World Economic Forum in the Global Gender Gap Report.

Why should we care about diversity?  It is known that

  • Gender diversity leads to better performance.
  • Inclusivity strengthens employee retention.
  • Advancing women’s equality leads to economic growth.
  • Strong female leadership provides financial returns.
  • Diversity breeds innovation and discovery.

What are the barriers to women achieving gender equality?

  • Lack of female role models.
  • Lack of work-life integration (childcare and elder-care responsibilities).
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Unconscious bias.

How to achieve change?

  • Know where you stand.  Know where you are going.  Set goals!
  • Gather your tools and create safety.  What are our tools? What areas do we want to improve in?
  • Recognize our weaknesses.
  • Be authentic to yourself and others.  It’s not WHAT you do, it’s HOW you do it.   Take failures with grace.
  • Celebrate our achievements.  We are often in a rush and there is graceful self-promotion that can be done.

Work/Life Integration.

  • Integrate work and home life.  For example, every time you attend a medical conference, take one of your children.  Connect with that child.  (or Take-your-child-to-work-Day).
  • Delegate.  What can you let go of?  Decide what is worth my time.
    • We may do an activity inefficiently.  Take time to think about how to perform more efficiently.  Hypo-stress.  eu-stress.  Hyper-stress.  Distress.  In distress is where burnout happens.
    • Time Allocation.  divide this into sections.
      • When we are inefficient at a task, delegate it. Someone else may do this better. (example: making the work’s hospital call schedule)
      • When we feel competent at a task, we make take it on because we can complete the task fast. Consider delegating this. (example: cooking)
      • When we are an expert and others do not know how to do it, consider coaching someone and let them take it over.  (example: running a simulation lab)
      • What we are unique in, DO IT MORE!
      • AND…Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing.

Build your network.

  • One mentor is no longer enough.  We each need our own “Board of Directors.”  Who is on this Board of Directors?
    • Mentors are people you go to for advice and feedback.
    • Family and friends give us social and emotional support.
    • Coaches help with self-discovery and challenge us to think in new ways.  Coaching is important for leaders in that we often do not take time to re-think our lives.  (They may help give us questions… what are OUR best and worse case scenarios?)
  • Negotiating skills.  It is all about your emotional quotient.  ASK and think BIG!  Women often do not apply for a job until they are a 90% match. (Men apply for a job with a 50% match). So, we should dream big.  Know what you want: inner self-awareness.  This helps with better negotiating skills.  Know the other side: social awareness.   Make your wish list, match your bosses list.  Prepare options for mutual gain: relationship management.
  • How can I make my goals match your superior’s goals? Listen carefully: self-management.  Listening helps you now what is important to other people.  We each like to be heard.  Know your BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement): External self-awareness.  Watch out if you push too far when you don’t have another position/opportunity.
  • Self-promotion is all about being graceful  Make a habit of recognizing and praising the accomplishments of others.  Self-promotion may not always mean telling everyone how great we are. View talking about yourself (or others) as educating or teaching others, rather than”selling.”  Report accomplishments and use social media.  Your research, when is on social media, is disseminated better.  This also helps to highlight what we are doing better.  Develop an interesting story around the facts.  Keep your boss in the information loop.  Take credit gracefully.  It is okay for people to know what you have done for them.  Always say thank you.

How can we collectively take action?  Start with self-care.  And, take care of others. Develop conscious leadership skills.  Support women in local and national professional development opportunities throughout the career life-cycle.  Empower women to support, mentor and sponsor each other.  Train both men and women to effectively mentor across genders.   Provide unconscious bias training for everyone.

Your word is a lamp to my feet… And a light to my path.  May we each be a light for one another.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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