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#17: The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership with Dr. Dean Taylor

December 29, 2020 in

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership with Dr. Dean Taylor


Today’s Coaching Through Stories episode features Dr. Dean Taylor, a professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, the Director of the Duke Sports Medicine Fellowship Program, and team physician for Duke University. He is also actively involved in leadership initiatives in the Duke School of Medicine and the chairman of the Feagin Leadership Program. Prior to earning his M.D. from Duke University, Dr. Taylor received his B.S. degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the United States Army for 24 years.

In today’s podcast, Dr. Taylor points out the role of emotional intelligence in leadership and why it is especially important today while leading through a pandemic. Dr. Taylor emphasizes how his approach is more than just patient-centered and requires teamwork, critical thinking, integrity, and trust within the team he is leading in order to have success.

Key Points:

  1. Self-awareness and empathy are critical to performance and leadership
  2. Emotional Intelligence is a critical component for interpersonal and professional effectiveness.
  3. Commitment to growth and learning sets great leaders apart from average ones.

Episode Highlights:

  • Dr. Taylor talks about his current role and passion
  • The story that started Dr. Taylor on his current path
  • How Dr. Taylor got into his profession
  • What pushed Dr. Taylor to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery and leadership development
  • How Dr. Taylor maintains trust in himself while remaining empathetic by asking himself, what does this person need from me right now?
  • Great leaders understand when to shift their focus on each stakeholder dependent on the situation which requires strong self-awareness and presence
  • Lack of commitment to improvement impacts our ability to grow
  • Dr. Taylor shares his definition of leadership: it begins with ethically influencing others for the benefit of patients
  • Influence provides a leader with the role to make things better for the population you are working with rather than focusing on authority
  • Executive coaching provides health care professionals with the ability to reflect on their experiences and maximize learning and growth
  • The difference between a great leader and an average leader is time and commitment to growth
  • Dr. Taylor shares an experience in which he was accidentally injured in the operating room while observing a resident and how his reaction to this accident impacted the resident’s performance and patient’s experience.
  • Dr. Taylor’s ability to control his emotions and behavior during an event that could have ended his career motivated him to learn more about leadership development.
  • The pandemic has challenged our comfort zone, focusing on what we can do for others and looking outward rather than inward improves our ability to take care of our own well-being
  • Selfless service means to prioritize other’s needs over individual wants and desires while maintaining personal and professional balance
  • Self care is the foundation of selfless service and it begins with self-awareness.
  • Dr. Taylor defines emotional intelligence within 4 buckets: (1) self, (2) others, (3) awareness, and (4) management. The ability to recognize and understand thinking and emotions effectively in self and in others and to use this awareness to effectively manage your behavior and relationships.
  • Dr. Taylor discusses a time in which he lacked emotional intelligence and how that could have impacted patient care 
  • Leaders in healthcare must strike a balance between empathy without setting themselves up for compassion fatigue

Resources Mentioned:

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