Physician Leaders as Artists
We know of the classic art museums in the world, famed not because of their structure, but because of the diverse unique works on their walls. The greatness of these institutions expands only as do their collections. Unlike the fleeting end of a relay race, the artwork survives centuries, for all to view, praised or damned. And, so should our physician leaders see their mandate to put their own brush marks on the canvas; not everyone will like our art, but our effort and thoughts will be reflected.
Artists are a suffering brood, usually impoverished and unknown, but always innovative and gutsy, and generally not afraid to offend or delight. Out of their adversity and needy realities spring their creativity and social commentary. Recognition, if at all, may come decades after death, so the driving force must be an inner turmoil or exuberant expression. There must be a passion, a vision of an image to place upon that canvas. If we have no passion, no desires or goals, we should let others take our place at the easel, because the oils don’t belie mediocrity.
Just like artists, physician leaders need to have a fired passion for their organization and need to be allowed to be different, to be proactive agents of change, lest their organizations stagnate. Leaders also need an experienced basis in adversity to temper naïve and youthful illusions of reality. Often an electorate shies away from the innovator, away from the squeaky wheel, when indeed that is what membership may need the most. We are living too much in a time of acceptance when perhaps we should be back in time, like the sixties, daring to be controversial, not afraid to make others uncomfortable if we disagree. Growth does not take place unless we challenge the mind, our beliefs, and ourselves. We must increase the debate, not make it less.
— Russell Kridel, MD
Russell Kridel, MD is in private practice in Houston, TX