Lessons on leadership from Maisy (3)

22 01 2009

Surgical training is an interesting topic and not an oxymoron. Certainly it is not perhaps as modern and as liberal in terms of educational technique as some disciplines within medicine. That said it is neither the “Sir Lamcelot Spratt” school of bollocking and humiliation that it used to be nor perhaps as it is perceived as by outsiders.

I wouldn’t want anyone to think I am any sort of leadership guru, or even necessarily a success. It has always struck me how sportsmen for instance, at the pinnacle of their powers can be advised and coached by someone who probably has never achieved that level of achievement. I merely blog on on the basis of observation and for discussion.

Importantly, as I write once again on dog training I probably need to emphasise that I don’t view my colleagues as furry animals nor have Maisy and I completed our journey of training.

I mentioned in the last post the value in giving a degree of freedom in behaviour. Maisy and I have now reached the stage of being able to go for walks without her wearing a lead. She understands the command “heel” and trots along happily by my left side. Every now and again she looks up. James, the trainer, encourages us to encourage the dog often when they do this with just a simple word or two.

As surgical trainees most of us have experienced the extreme opposite of this approach. Once I even had the temerity to question the lack of encouragement and was advised, “We expect excellent. If you fail to deliver that, we will tell you. Otherwise just carry on. It’s implied.”  I beg to differ.

I’m sure this is the case for so many of us in our jobs. Whilst the encouragement may be implied by the lack of criticism I don’t think the two are synonymous. I’ve found that a small word or two of encouragement is justified, is encouraging and is valued. I would value more encouragement personally.

Lessons on Leadership from Maisy-

3. a little, regular, appropriate encouragement is very valuable




One response

22 01 2009

Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to encourage a certain behaviour, attitude or good performance.

If it works in kids and dogs, I can’t see why it shouldn’t work for surgeons as well 🙂

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