Difficult doctors: Coaching the alpha (Proceedings)
Why This? Why Now?
• Most common complaint of managers in veterinary medicine
• People join practices and leave doctors/owners/boss• We live in an era of consolidation and collaboration if we are to be successful providers
• Must address the "schism" between owners and doctors and front line employees
The Alpha Doctor
• Highly Intelligent
• Not happy unless they are calling the shots
• Use "Toxic Tactics" to get their way
• Note to women (rarely will you exhibit all of the characteristics of the alpha doctor), but you can have many
• It's about being socialized to be good collaborators and compromising
• Reach the "top" because they are natural leaders
• Comfortable with responsibility and being the "final word"
• Get stressed when they DON'T have tough decisions to make
• They get such a charge out of being in control that they willingly take on more responsibilities than any normal human being would
• Genius and Madness are hard to separate
• Their greatest strengths are also their greatest weaknesses
• Independent and Action Oriented
• Take for granted extraordinarily high performance
• Expect the same in others
• "Impressive, but I wouldn't want to work for them!"
• Think extraordinarily fast, hard to keep up with
• Prevents them from listening to others (especially those who do not alpha speak)
• Impatience causes them to miss subtle but important details (lack empathy)
• They have opinions about EVERYTHING
• Rarely if ever admit to being wrong or incomplete
• Early in life they KNOW they are smarter than most people and learn very early to circumvent "rules"
• "The rules don't apply to me."
• As adults they believe that their insights are so unique that they put complete faith in their instincts
• Because their intuitions are often right, they feel justified in focusing on the flaws in other people's ideas or arguments. The results:
• Co-workers are intimidated which makes learning difficult
• The more pressure the "alpha" feels the more he tends to shift his leadership style from constructive and challenging to intimidating or abusive
• Organizations become dysfunctional because people avoid dealing with the alpha male, work around him, or simply pay him lip service
• Unemotional and analytical in their cognitive style
• Eager to learn about business "things" but have little or no natural curiosity about people or feelings
• They rely on exhaustive data to make business decisions, but often make snap decisions about other people which they hold onto tenaciously
• They believe that paying attention to feelings (others or their own) detracts from getting the work done, making them surprisingly oblivious to the effect they have on others