Engage, Lead - VOTE!
An empowering word. A call to action. A challenge to us all.
What does it mean to you? How do you apply it in your daily juggle of life? How do you learn it? How do you teach it? How do you inspire it? What values do you hold close as you navigate it?
The inspirational Dr Chris Nickson challenged us at SMACC, “are you the sort of people that will go away and make a difference?”. He reminded us of Epictetus “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”
I used to think that “pick you battles” was a leadership mantra to recite and to sustain me. But as I work more on leadership and communication skills, I have come to realise that this is just a form of self-protection, an armour to impede connection, curiosity and growth. It supports the narrative that there is a battle to fight in the first place.
Leadership occurs in smaller moments - on a clinical shift, sitting in a meeting that happens with seemingly inane regularity, contributing to the dry words of a tedious policy that will be used to hold people to account, toiling away when no one is there to see the choices I make – they are all moments of opportunity to embody my philosophy.
Silence, that retreat from the conversation, is harmful. A revelation to me, is that silence can even be aggressive. If we sit back and observe a moment, perhaps because we deem it too hard to engage, but then become vocal about the outcome, particularly when we have not contributed to it, we have made a choice, and that choice is not one of leadership. It might feel like self-preservation, but really, it’s disengagement. If we don’t engage, we don’t remain curious, connected and willing to stand up for the culture and the integrity of the places we live and work, what exactly is the point of being there at all?
Engaging is hard. It takes improved knowledge, self-reflection, skills, hard work – and a willingness to “fail” to see what comes of that outcome too. It takes an admission first off, that we need to be better – thus accepting we aren’t there yet.
If you joined the medical profession in order to take care of people, your patients, your community, inaction and silence on diversity erodes your integrity in that standpoint. There is ample evidence that diversity in leadership improves outcomes for organisations and the people they serve.
Advocacy is what Emergency Physicians do every day. We are excellent at it. We have made the practice of advocacy for our patients a daily and ingrained endeavour. This ACEM vote for constitutional change and improved diversity in our leadership is exactly that – advocacy for our patients. So, what are you waiting for?
In order to participate in this ballot, Fellows need simply to access the following link, and submit their votes on the two resolutions: https://portal.acem.org.au/get-involved/member-consultations/2019-special-resolutions
The voting process will be open from 6 May 2019, and will close at 5:00pm (AEST) on 4 June 2019.
Dr Mya Cubitt, for NoWEM