Articles  |   June 2019
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT: What is the Most Important Management Skill for Small to Medium-sized Groups?
Author Affiliations
  • Phillip J. Richardson, M.D., M.B.A., FASA
    Committee on Practice Management
  • Robin H. Schwartz, M.D., M.B.A., FASA, FACHE, CPE
    Committee on Practice Management
Article Information
Practice Management / Articles
Articles   |   June 2019
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT: What is the Most Important Management Skill for Small to Medium-sized Groups?
ASA Monitor 6 2019, Vol.83, 36-37.
ASA Monitor 6 2019, Vol.83, 36-37.
The title of this article raises an important question, as more than half of ASA members are in small to medium-sized groups. How could one skill rise above all of the many skills we use every day? One skill, though, has been shown to increase profits, morale, teamwork and communication. Knowing poor communication contributes to many sentinel events, we suspect this skill may even promote patient safety. It has been shown to be more important than IQ for success, and lack of it is the primary cause of executive career derailments. This skill is emotional intelligence (EI).
In short, it is being self-aware and able to control one’s behavior in order to build and maintain social relationships in an empathetic manner. It is being smart about emotions and how they affect people. Many overlook “soft skills,” or “people skills,” as technical skills have generally advanced our educational careers. When people find something that works, they stick with it. Consequently, we are typically looking for another technical skill – such as ultrasonography, accounting or another fellowship – to help us find “success.” For instance, that chemistry test didn’t care if we were in a bad mood, we just needed to get the “right” answer. Don’t we just need to tell people what the right answer is, or how best to write the contract or make the schedule, etc.? In fact, for some occupations, EI is a hindrance. Specifically, accountants, scientists and mechanics with higher emotional intelligence experienced lower job performance. But people in small groups are not just scientists, they must build relationships and learn from and share with everyone around them, from nurses, housekeepers, surgeons, administrators and board members.
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