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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

Integrative Medicine and Leadership 2

I met a health care senior administrator who commented that leadership qualities came from 1) attending MBA program 2) going through corporate leadership program.

I have to disagree.

There are two things I know about leadership.

1. It is not about yourself.

2. It starts with yourself.

1. Leadership is not about yourself. Think about the greatest leaders. Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, and Lincoln (at least to me). All served others. Gandhi served the idea of India as a free nation. Lincoln served the idea of preserving union and emancipation of slaves. As a leader, I am proud that my team advanced as individuals, professionals, and the program advanced. From Georgia Integrative Medicine, we "graduated" one MA and one intern as physicians. We graduated our clinic manager as a mental health professional who has since retired and working as a coach, one MA fulfilled her dream of having a private practice in nutrition and wellness, and last professional found her balance as mom and as a physical therapist. The dark side of servant leadership is sacrifice as individuals - this is especially true when running a business. Servant leadership has to be balanced with mission of the company, operation, and profit.

2. Leadership starts with yourself. Think about Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, and Lincoln again. All proactively chose a path, to great peril to self, and dedicated themselves to a path that resulted in ultimate sacrifices (all except for Buddha who died at age 80 of food poisoning). Think about Mandela who is imprisoned. Think of Viktor Frankyl in concentration camp. These may be extreme examples, but all of us make a micro-decision that adds to our personal leadership or takes away from personal leadership. There is a study that shows that how leadership/power positions shows that even 20 min of playing the role of someone with power, the power affects that individual. The leader/power position ate more of the cookie and left more of a mess. To counteract the insidiousness of the power (absolute power corrupts absolutely), the only anti-dote I now is mindfulness and self-leadership.

We, in the US, had leaders like Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden. Are they ideal leaders? Gandhi says - Be the change you want. For me I wanted to contribute to our healthcare systems to explore/adopt integrative medicine. Now a days, that is happening. Now my project interests are shifting to creating 1) accessible models - file insurance to accept insurance 2) sustainable model of collaboration while taking fee for services out of equation 3) optimal outcome models. I think I can also contribute as a catalyst perhaps through a consultant model.


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