All physiotherapists are leaders in some way. Whether it is guiding a patient through the steps to recovery, playing a leadership role in a multidisciplinary team, or being involved in an APA committee, we all display leadership qualities.
It is relevant to reflect on what makes us effective (or not) as leaders, and how we develop these skills.
Some leadership is innate. There are leaders who have natural skills in listening, planning, communicating, and acting in ways that cause others to take heed of what they say. These natural leaders can often empathise and connect with others, while creating a compelling case for a change in attitude, belief or action. Many times this is to reinforce a current desirable trait, rather than instilling a new one.
Many leaders gradually develop skills through the course of their lives, and are formed by experiences or moments which make them the leaders they are.
Sometimes the moments or experiences can be referred to as ‘crucible moments’, or times that harden our resolve.
For physiotherapists involved in leadership both within our profession and in our broader communities, it is useful to reflect on the learnings from these moments. Much like in reflective clinical practice, learning from ‘crucible moments’ can make us be better leaders in the future.
One of the important characteristics of a leader is self-awareness. The process of reflecting on experiences that have affected you as a leader can help improve your ability to be an effective leader in the future.
The future of the physiotherapy profession in Australia requires many different types of leaders, and I encourage you to reflect on your experiences to make yourself the best leader you can be.
MARCUS DRIPPS, APAM
APA National President
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