Josh Schwarzbaum, MD, MBA

We all are leaders and as a leader YOU have the power to influence people. The more leverage you have, the more you have the ability to help people discover their inner power and natural resources. 

As I progressed throughout my career as a physician having trained hundreds of residents and cared for thousands of patients, I’ve tried all sorts of ways to get people to learn, evolve and change. I found that some methods were more successful than others but it wasn’t until I discovered this missing variable that my impact was consistently greater.  

Common leadership strategies entail reward/punishment, feedback systems, motivational speakers, and mission/value statements. We’ll come to see that while these may be effective they are in fact predicated on a hidden variable that underlies our ability to be resourceful, creative, and make good momentary decisions. Moreover, they tend to work initially but their value diminishes over time. 

If a person feels they won’t meet reward metrics productivity paradoxically decreases because they won’t get rewarded anyway. 

For feedback to be successful a person needs to be open and willing to receive while a leader must be skilled at delivering it. If either party is not in a good psychological state the effect of a feedback system is diminished due to poor delivery on the part of a leader or defensiveness by a recipient. 

High energy speakers pump people up for a time but the effect tends to diminish. 

Mission statements help point people in a direction while value statements help people work more intelligently. Combined together there is hope for improved morale and performance but we see that it doesn’t always pan out. 

Taking a look underneath it all we can find the missing variable – our state of mind. There is no one good term to define this variable and when I use this term it is to point in the direction of our psychological functioning, level of wellbeing, where our head is at, or where we’re coming from. 

Our state of mind is the cornerstone of interpersonal relationships, creativity, and innovation all of which are improved with a clear head that is open and able to receive. I see this daily when physicians and nurses of multiple specialties come together in the trauma bay to care for patients walking the line of life and death. 

When physicians and nurses are in a better state of mind we see better teamwork, critical thinking, decision making and fewer mistakes. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any aspect of performance that is not mediated by someone’s state of mind. 

As a leader when you help people understand their state of mind, where it comes from and how it gets created you’ll see MAJOR change. The people you lead will be able to raise their energy, enjoy higher quality thinking, and make better decisions all on their own. Moreover, once they catch on, the ball gets rolling, improvement continues and the dividends pay off. 

If you’re not already utilizing this principle that underlies it all, now’s a good time to start. Your impact will skyrocket and you’ll see the results. 

If you need help implementing this in your life or within your business, get in touch, I’d be happy to speak with you. 

Dr. Josh Schwarzbaum is a triple board certified physician in emergency medicine, addiction medicine, and emergency medical services. He consults for organizations and coaches individuals helping them find their natural resilience and peace of mind no matter what life brings their way.

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