CUA 2018: “Leaderships first commandment – Know Thyself!”

Halifax, Nova Scotia (UroToday.com) Jamie Campbell, director of organization development at the North York General Hospital in Toronto, began his presentation on leadership development with a quote from the Harvard Business Review: “Leaderships first commandment – Know Thyself!” This quote particularly laid out the objective of the lecture which was mainly focused on the development of interpersonal skills to become a better leader in the clinical workplace. Interpersonal effectiveness, as defined by Mr. Campbell, is equally built upon self-awareness and proactive stance. Self-aware professionals are adept at examining their own interpersonal style including their strength and weaknesses, while proactive professionals believe that they can influence others despite challenging circumstances. Both of these skillsets need to be mastered in order to become a better leader in anyone’s professional life.  



Mr. Campbell took the opportunity to briefly introduce the dynamic of intention versus impact. He explained that we all judge ourselves by our intentions, while we judge others by their impact. The developmental task of adulthood, and thus, being a strong leader, is learning how our personal style impacts our relationships with others and being able to present yourself in a professional manner. Mr. Campbell expanded on this by introducing the term “intentional congruence,” where one should identify their intentions and carefully present them so that it positively impacts their colleagues and audience. This, then, would lead to how people identify and perceive the individual in the professional or clinical realms. 

The presenter continued by introducing how our behavior stems from our unconscious thinking patterns based on our own merits and morals. Mr. Campbell postulated that individuals in the workplace assume one of two roles: the judger or the learner. The judger will be quick to assert blame to an individual who is not producing results while the learner would be prone to inquire on how the individual is feeling or what that individual needs in order to be more successful. This idea began to transition into the difference between task oriented and people oriented leaders in the clinical workplace. Mr. Campbell expressed that an effective leader must master the delicate balancing act of task and people orientation while aiming to be more like a learner in order to produce the best results from their clinical team.  

For his next point, Mr. Campbell instructed the audience on the idea of emotional intelligence and how it relates to one’s self-awareness. Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional social skills that collectively establish how we perceive and express ourselves, which then foster the development of our professional and social relationships. A strong sense of emotional intelligence also allows an individual cope with challenges in a beneficial and meaningful way. Mr. Campbell reminded the audience of his earlier point of Intent versus impact by explaining that people with high emotional intelligence are aware of their impact, negatively or positively, and are able to make adjustments if necessary. Those who have low emotional intelligence, however, are essentially blind to their impact and feel like others don’t get the point, always believe that others are to blame, or hold high expectations. Emotional intelligence is not the same as IQ and an individual’s emotional intelligence can always get better with time and practice. Therefore, Mr. Campbell urged his listeners to constantly be aware of this implication and always attempt to improve.  

At this point in the presentation, Mr. Campbell switched his focus to the importance of proactive stance as a leader. This idea mainly focuses on goal orientation and the necessary steps which need to be taken in order to reach these goals. The most important aspect of this that Mr. Campbell explained was the ability to break down the “circle of concern”. He encouraged that the audience break down their concerns and only focus on things within their own control and things beyond their control but within their influence. Mr. Campbell urged that things that were entirely out of one’s control be disregarded entirely or the individual may easily become burnt out. This approach to leadership allows the individual to be mindful of what’s important in order to give this the attention it deserves to ultimately drive productivity.   

As Mr. Campbell’s final point, he stressed the importance of feedback within an individual’s practice. He explained that a strong sense of self-awareness would allow an individual to effectively receive feedback and adjust as necessary. Additionally, a strong sense of proactive stance would allow an individual provide their own feedback to others in a beneficial and productive manner. This ideal is vital in becoming a strong leader and cultivating a productive practice.  

In closing, Mr. Campbell reminded his audience that a strong, effective leader must be highly self-aware and should always take a strong proactive stance. He also added that strong leaders must always be optimistic with a positive attitude and outlook on life, while remaining hopeful and resilient.   

Presented By: Authors: Jamie Campbell, North York General Hospital, Toronto, Canada 

Written By: Zachary Valley, Department of Urology, University of California-Irvine, Twitter: @ZacharyAValley at the 73rd Canadian Urological Association Annual Meeting - June 23 - 26, 2018 - Halifax, Nova Scotia
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