Follow the Leader


Blog Post By Joe Babaian

Leadership isn’t just about being popular and it’s certainly not about being draconian, Steve Jobs’ legacy notwithstanding. Leadership is all about identifying the range of skills and passions in your organization and leveraging for the mutual good.  Balance is another sign of great leadership since we know we need more than just the A players to make a team. We need extroverts AND introverts, we need logical AND feeling, we need the nexus of all the engaged people we lead or work with in pursuit of our joint goal.

Risk appears when we fall into a trap of fallacies and beliefs with little basis in reality. Some great examples of fallacies in the wellness industry are discussed in Witherspoon’s article,  Self-Fulfilling Fallacies of the Wellness Industry. Check it out for some background! Examples of self-fulfilling fallacies from the article:

  • If people understand their disease and mortality risk, they’ll naturally want to change their behavior.
  • Employees need an incentive/disincentive to improve health habits.

When we follow an idea, someone, or their path, we need to look at the source of its/their success. These days with social media being a key part of healthcare growth, we can examine who and what we follow. Are we looking toward the true innovator, a passionate caregiver, a dedicated clinician, or an empowering connector? If so, perfect! 

In the case of a self-fulfilling cycle of fame that grabs others and creates more and more support without actual, active “Getting Stuff Done,” we see the following. High regard from your peers leads to big attention to all of your opinions (Musk?) and publishing which leads to high citation rates and the use of your work as references. Notice what’s missing? Right. The step that shows real changes in effect, helping real people and not just talk! Ahem. 

I know you will enjoy reading about the “3 Dangers of Charismatic Leadership” in Inc. Author Brian Evje points out three key risks:

1. Leaders can become addicted to charisma

2. Organizations can become addicted to the charismatic leader

3. Charisma grows for its own sake and forgets its purpose

Let’s consider who and what we follow and how we lead. Opportunities are boundless and wasting time building egos isn’t what we need to be doing to make healthcare what we want it to be. Ideas are plenty.

Actionable ideas and getting stuff done are what we need to focus on. Pie in the sky is great for philosophizing over a cuppa and praising the latest echo-chamber great idea feels easy, but getting down to work, making a difference, saving a life – that’s why we are here!

This week on #hcldr, let’s think & talk about how and when we should “Follow the Leader.”

Let’s think about where we are and where we need to be as well as the implications along with the #hcldr community of professionals, patients, clinicians, administrators, lurkers, counselors, social workers, designers, and advocates! Please join us on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 8:30pm Eastern as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1: How does the “cult of personality” hold back innovation? How does it help?
  • T2: In what ways do you inspire those around you to get great stuff done?
  • T3: What can we do to make sure that a rising tide lifts ALL ships – leaving no one behind?
  • T4: What’s your advice to those looking to break silos, make positive waves, and get in the trenches of healthcare (& elsewhere) to make a real difference?


“3 Dangers of Charismatic Leadership” Brian Evje, Inc.

“French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power” Mind Tools Content Team, Mind Tools,

“Self-Fulfilling Fallacies of the Wellness Industry” Dean Witherspoon, Health Enhancement Systems, July 8, 2014.

“Pygmalion Effect: How Expectation Shape Behaviour For Better or Worse” Thomas Oppong, Medium, Aug 2018.

Image Credit

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash / Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash.

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