Good Physician Leadership May Help Counteract Burnout

(HealthDay News) — Physician leaders with good leadership qualities are more likely to have employees who are satisfied and do not show signs of burnout, according to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings and a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The study authors asked physicians from the Mayo Clinic to rate their immediate physician supervisor for leadership qualities. They found that leadership ratings were strongly associated with burnout and satisfaction, after adjustment for age, sex, duration of employment, and specialty. 

Overall, 11% and 47% of the variation in burnout and satisfaction, respectively, with the organization was due to the leadership rating. However, leaders’ own level of burnout was not associated with the prevalence of burnout in the division/department.

Organizations should provide physician leaders with the necessary training. Many of the leadership qualities assessed were teachable behaviors, such as keeping people informed; encouraging ideas for improvements; discussing career development; and providing feedback, coaching, and recognition of good work.

“Often physician leaders are selected based on their clinical acumen, scientific expertise or reputation, rather than on the qualities necessary to be an effective leader,” according to the study authors.


  1. Henry TA. Physician satisfaction: Why leadership qualities matter. AMA website. April 26, 2016. Accessed May 5, 2016.