Core Leadership Competencies


Assessment Questions

  • What is your personal leadership statement?
  • Have you personally participated in meaningful leadership development programs?  Is this important or is life experience and self-directed learning as valuable?
  • Have you completed a personal leadership assessment?
  • Who is your current active leadership mentor?
  • Who is your current active leadership sponsor?
  • What faculty leadership development activities are offered by your institution?
  • What faculty leadership development activities are offered outside of your institution.
  • How have you developed trust with your faculty?
  • Describe the succession plans in place for your program.
  • How have you grown in your understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion?
  • Describe initiatives you have championed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and excellence in medicine and the health professions
  • Are you familiar with the theories undergirding health equity and leadership?


What are the key components of a successful leader?

The successful leader has been able to establish a vision for the program and has clearly articulated this to the members of the department. Each member of the department should understand their role and how their success in helping to reach that vision will be measured. There are many important steps in accomplishing these goals but using this framework can often provide clarity when difficult decisions need to be made. An alternative view is the leader who is not a named leader but has displayed through action the elements of ethical leadership.

What are some important qualities of a good leader?

They should be a good listener and communicate on a regular basis. It should be easy to explain decisions made by the leader as being consistent with a set of core values. These values should be explicitly stated and referenced on a regular basis. An effective leader should make decisions in a consistent manner that can be usually be predicted by members of the organization. That having been said, adaptive leadership that is based on organizational justice principles recognizes the need to understand context, tensions and the need to accept that change is not only inevitable but necessary for progress. Effective leaders support awareness and movement towards change that support greater equity in clinical care, research, policy and leads to improved health outcomes.

What are some examples of core values a leader should value?

Many organizations find it useful to clearly delineate 4-6 core values that are used to guide decision making processes at all levels of the organizations. It is often useful to settle upon these values in an open manner such as a brainstorming session. The exact values often include such concepts as honesty, integrity, trust worthiness, and equity. The precise values chosen are not as important as the fact that are openly discussed and widely agreed upon. They can often prove helpful as a sounding board in complex decisions. A critical concept is inclusion of diverse perspectives based on self-identified identities and lived experience.

Why is communication so important in leadership?

It is important to understand the importance of bidirectional communication. Without this type of communication leadership tends to become insular and non-responsive to the needs of an organization. Successful leadership requires active listening and opportunities for voices to be heard. Communication with opportunities for feedback are a way to develop clarity, understanding and buy in to a position. This type of communication recognizes the need to adjust the balance of power and to aim for non-hierarchical processes that respect inclusive points of view.

Why is it important for leadership to promote strong mentoring programs?

Mentorship results in significant benefits to both the mentor and mentees. Research has shown mentoring results in higher rates of professional success for the mentees in clinical, educational and research activities. Mentors themselves often experience greater productivity, career satisfaction, and personal gratification. As a hedge against burnout, encouraging mentorship can have a significant positive impact on the faculty at large. In this context, it is important to note that mentorship is not sufficient and does not equate to sponsorship. Sponsorship goes beyond mentorship to actively engage and support the development of a faculty or trainee no matter the status of that mentee.

Pediatric Leadership Insight

  • Hiring a Department/Division Business Administrator - Pediatric Insight: Passing Leadership Wisdom To The Next Generation Topic: Hiring a Department/Division Business Administrator What Non-Clinical Positions Do You Need to Support Your Pediatric Department? Leaders at every level within the academic pediatric department require strong administrative support. The Child Health Advisory Council discuss the importance of the partnership of a senior business administrator […]
  • Internal Candidates - Pediatric Insight: Passing Leadership Wisdom To The Next Generation Topic: Professional Treatment of Internal Candidates In this Pediatric Insight Conversation, the Child Health Advisory council tackles a crucial conversation of effectively guiding Internal Candidates through the leadership search committee process. While your efforts will literally affect one faculty member, the experiences of the one will […]

Additional Resources


Flores G, Mendoza F, Brimacombe MB, Frazier III W, .Program Evaluation of the Research in Academic Pediatrics Initiative on Diversity (RAPID): Impact on Career Development and Professional Society Diversity. Academic Medicine, Vol. 96, No. 4 / April 2021.

Pachter LM, Kodjo C. New Century Scholars: A Mentorship Program to Increase Workforce Diversity in Academic Pediatrics. Acad Med . 2015 Jul;90(7):881-7. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000669.
Edmonds BT, Tori AJ. Leadership in Academic Medicine: Purpose, People, and Programs. Skylar, DP. Academic medicine, Vol.93, no. 2, pp.145-148

Jagsi, R, Spector N. Leading by Design: Lessons for the Future From 25 years of Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. Academic Medicine, 95 pp. 1479-1482. doi 10.1097/ACM0000000000003577.

Lobas, R. Spector, N. Leadership in Academic Medicine: Capabilities and Conditions for Organizational Success. The American journal of Medicine, 2006, vol 119, no. 7, pp. 617-621


David M Greer. Successful Leadership in Academic Medicine. Cambridge University 2022, ISBN 9781108923132

John P. Sànchez. Succeeding in Academic Medicine: A Roadmap for Diverse Medical Students and Residents, Springer 2020

Edited by Robert J. Sternberg, Elizabeth Davis, April C. Mason, Robert V. Academic Leadership in Higher Education: from the top down and the bottom up. Lanham ; Boulder ; New York ; London : Rowman & Littlefield, 2015

Edited by Margaret Plews-Ogan, MD, MS, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA, and Gene Beyt, MD, MS Wisdom leadership in academic health science centers: leading positive change. Radcliffe Publishing, [2014], 239 pages

Jeffrey L. Houpt, Roderick W Gilkey, Susan H. Ehringhaus. Learning to Lead in the Academic Medical Center [electronic resource] : A Practical Guide. Cham : Springer International Publishing : Imprint: Springer, 2015. 219 pages.

Laraque-Arena D and Etzel RA. Organizational Change – Helping from Inside. In Leadership at the intersection of gender and race in Healthcare and Science: Case Studies and Tools. Laraque-Arena D, Germain L, Young V, Laraque-Ho, A. (Editors) First published 2023 by Routledge; 4 Park Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdonm Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge, 105 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158.

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