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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Are Leaders Doers?

Published June 27, 2014 4:42 PM by Lisa Mueller

I was talking with a friend of mine about being a supervisor in rehab and about leadership and management of companies. We were comparing the differences between being a physical therapist and supervising a department. I've written about this previously, analyzing some of the traits and characteristics that cross between physical therapy and managers.

My friend said something interesting that I haven't been able to forget -- "People who are promoted are usually good, or the best, at doing things. But being a good leader isn't about doing things. It's about helping other people do things. You have to transition from a ‘doing' mindset to a ‘coaching' mindset, and that's where most leaders fail." Hearing her say this was like an "aha" moment for myself, because I found the words to be very true.

I'm very interested in the idea of hiring people for their strengths and putting them in jobs with tools to make strengths even stronger. In my friend's description, many doers who are promoted to leaders can be evaluated on skills they lack or areas they need to improve. Sometimes, doers have the best role in continuing to do good work.

I think I'm really good at doing things. I keep my work organized and prioritized. I can dissect a project to all of the milestones needed for full success. I visualize the full picture and zoom into details when needed. But, I'm not sure how to measure my success in coaching others, or in enabling others to do their work well. Perhaps this is where engagement surveys are effective to measure the impact leaders have on motivating and engaging their teams.

Do you see a difference between doers and leaders? Where do you see yourself fitting? Are you a doer, a leader, or do you have qualities of both?

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