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Mark Baker

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EQ and you

It’s something all healthcare leaders may need and can improve on throughout their career: developing a high level of emotional intelligence. Being a leader in the cardiovascular service line (CVSL) comes with a great deal of responsibilities. Dealing with numerous people, various personalities, and a wide-range of emotions can be quite the balancing act. And, with the ever-changing healthcare landscape, your nurses, cardiologists, and patients are under pressure to adapt quickly.
Emotional Quotient
It’s not surprising many leaders in healthcare struggle with their EQ. The good news: There are plenty of ways to boost your EQ. Let’s explore how you can supercharge your EQ as you drive your CVSL into the future.
Add self-awareness to your day

The first step to increasing your EQ is practicing self-awareness. Learning to trust and manage your emotions will help extend awareness to how members of your team may be feeling.

Whether it be rounding on staff, before a meeting with a physician, or after interacting with a patient, gauging how you feel throughout the day is critical on your journey to boosting both your EQ and your CVSL.

Practice observing how you feel during the day
  • Set a timer at various points in the day
  • When the timer goes off, take a few deep breaths
  • Notice how you’re feeling emotionally
  • Pay specific attention to how that emotion is appearing as a physical feeling in your body and what it feels like 
Empathy is everything
When it comes to understanding others on a deeper level, there is not a more powerful trait than empathy. Empathy can enhance relationships with your team as well as help develop new relationships with physicians who may be weary of changing initiatives. And, when it comes to patient care, empathy can unlock unparalleled levels of communication.

Establish empathy from the start

Think before you act

This is a saying that has stood the test of time, and for good reason. Self-regulating your emotions enables you to take control. It minimizes the chance of impulsive reactions, providing you with the ability to respond rather than react. By self-regulating you can take an honest look at your own personal strengths and weaknesses.

As a CVSL leader, it’s important to develop a good sense of self-regulation. It will empower you to share your emotions with the right people at the right time—letting them know where you stand with critical decisions.

Respond vs react

A physician storms into your office and says


You feel your back is against the wall and become defensive, saying


You choose to listen to what the physician is saying and respond in a controlled manner with

Positivity prevails
Creating and maintaining a positive train of thought is priceless. Often, positivity is contagious—spreading through your staff and the hallways of your institution. A positive environment can help increase employee retention, aid in recruiting top talent, and encourage patients who are in treatment to have a new outlook on their journey.

Practice positive thinking by:

“Our C-suite bought in on my team’s initiative. That’s a huge win for us.” 

“I really do have a great job. I’m valued for the work I do, my CVSL team is fantastic, and my institution is an industry leader.”
“Every individual on this team plays an integral role in our success. You all contribute something remarkable to our CVSL, have positive attitudes, and work flawlessly together. I’m proud to work side-by-side with each one of you.”

Nurture current and new relationships

As a leader, it’s critical for you to develop solid relationships with your staff. How they act and perform may be a direct reflection of how you manage that relationship.

A good way to develop these relationships and boost your EQ is to become aware of your nonverbal communication. Body language is a huge indication of how you are feeling. It’s important to recognize the nonverbal messages you’re sending to nurses, physicians, and patients and alter them if need be.

What your body language may be saying to others

What your body language may be saying to others

Another thing to remember and practice is to see conflict as an opportunity to grow closer to staff members. Disagreements happen in the workplace. And, while not everyone will share the same opinions and expectations, resolving conflict in constructive ways is important. This is similar to responding versus reacting. Practice listening more to the other person and responding in a constructive manner that will benefit both parties.

Nurturing and developing solid relationships in your CVSL will bring you closer to those around you and create that positive team environment many institutions desire.

Emotional intelligence is a lifetime process
Supercharging your EQ doesn’t happen overnight. Like most things in life it takes constant practice, but the benefits are immeasurable. Evolving your EQ comes with a big payoff for you, your staff, your patients, and your institution as a whole.
“If you were to take your great clinical skills and improve the other side of the equation, you’d become a dominant leader in our culture.” - Scott Garavet, MBA, Vice President, Cardiovascular, Spine, and Orthopedics System ThedaCare

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