Leadership insight #13 / 2023: Nurturing kindness in healthcare leadership

15 November 2023

In the workplace, kindness plays a crucial role in fostering positive interactions. From random acts of kindness to intentional expressions of gratitude, its impact is far-reaching. The significance of treating colleagues with respect is evident in initiatives like Civility Saves Lives, of underscoring that kindness and compassion enhance teamwork and patient outcomes.

What does kindness look like in terms of leadership?  What are the types of skills and behaviours that leaders can employ to exercise professional kindness to their teams and departments/clinics (as well as with patients)?

Leaders can:

In this short article I take a behavioural lens on what kindness can look like in leading others and collaborative teams. Effective leadership in healthcare demands careful attention and skill to curate and lead complex collaborative teams. Doing this kindly takes time, however when done, the reward will be great.

Kindness forms a part of the core leadership work that goes into setting up a strong and healthy collaborative culture. It is part of a thoughtful, skilled and respectful approach to setting up collaborative work and taking a duty of care for the workforce as well at the patient.

So, what does this look like? This includes actions and behaviours such as: 

These are some of the ways that we can be kind to each other at work, and set ourselves up for kind workplace and culture.

These practices contribute to a kind workplace culture, extending beyond politeness to embed a strong culture of kindness to self and others. While it requires time and thoughtful preparation, the payoff is substantial. These acts form the foundation of a strong organizational culture and effective teamwork, directly impacting patient care.

Dr Anna Clark (PhD)

Dr Anna Clark is AMAVs Leadership consultant, coach and educator, currently offering individual coaching for doctors and directing the AMA’s professional development programs in leadership, the Emerging Leader Program and Middle Leader Program.

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