"The Incomplete Leader" - Dyad Leadership in Healthcare

by The Architect on Mar 1, 2017

'Dyad' leadership was brought to our attention by this recent article in Cardiovascular Business as a bit of collaborative leadership in action in the Healthcare industry.

What is 'Dyad' Leadership?

An interesting approach; essentially, a leadership partnership.

An administrative or nurse leader collaborates with a physician leader, with the goal to bring out the best in both and to cover what the other is missing. 'Dyad' supporters tout that it reduces leader burnout and improves cross-division communication.

What interests me is how it dispels the core myth of leadership that a single leader is at the top.

Leadership responsibilities are bigger than any one individual, and dyads allow you to pull together the best of both worlds and help ensure that people are operating at the top of their license.” Cathie Biga, RN, MSN, president and CEO of Cardiovascular Management of Illinois and a former hospital CEO

We've written before about the power of co-leadership outside healthcare (here's the link). Including this co-leadership coda from Pat Ballin.

  • High Shared Power/High Shared Trust = Co-leadership
  • High Shared Power/Low Shared Trust = Power-Sharing
  • Low Shared Power/High Shared Trust = Good Deputy
  • Low Shared Power/Low Shared Trust = Factotum

Might this be a model for the UK's NHS and other health systems to adopt?

'Dyad' leadership is showing promising results in the US, and might prove transferable to other countries. However, the initial adoption process is difficult. It requires a cultural shift towards shared decision-making and accountability that upsets the usual balance of power in hospitals.

Many clinicians who get involved are astonished at how much hard work it is,” Kathleen Sanford (DBA, RN, senior vice president and chief nursing officer for CHI, and co-author of the book 'Dyad Leadership in Healthcare')...

...while adding none of the dyad partners she interviewed for her book said they would ever go back.

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