Health care is advancing rapidly, so leadership skills must be prioritized in physical therapy education and practice. Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants will find leadership skills crucial throughout their careers. It could be an informal leadership role with patients, collaboration for interdisciplinary care or a formal leadership position. Help the physical therapy team cultivate their leadership skills for professional growth. Here is a strategy for developing leadership skills.
An excellent development tool is a stretch assignment beyond what a therapist is used to doing. You get a completed project or task that will help the clinic. The therapists get a learning opportunity. Stretch assignments challenge therapists to fill their skill and knowledge gaps. Ultimately, it helps to prepare them for leadership roles.
Focus on Goals
As you help your therapy team grow professionally, they must make the connection between goals and tasks. Physical therapists must focus beyond day-to-day tasks and consider the bigger picture. How can their physical therapy tasks be suited to the bigger clinic goals or their personal goals? So what if they fail to meet the exact goal? They set the bar high, and achievement will follow.
Make the clinic a testing ground by delegating authority to therapists. It is an excellent way to see if a therapist is ready to lead. Perhaps you have a time-consuming task a therapist can take on. Delegating authority will help you assess leadership skills.
Matching therapists with mentors benefits the employee and the clinic. The therapist mentor can give guidance and feedback on the mentee’s performance. The mentor can listen to questions and concerns and help employees work on areas of growth. The mentor can show the path to success as they help other therapists find their way.
The Value of Listening Skills
Active listening is an art with tremendous value. It is also crucial for therapists who desire to become leaders. It is wholly engaging with others’ perspectives and working to understand them. A therapy team member must know how to listen if they want to lead.
Leadership Skills Resources
Strong leadership is the backbone of a thriving physical therapy clinic. Physical therapy provides opportunities for leading in the clinic, the community or your association. If you have a PT or PTA who is looking to improve their leadership skills, here are resources:
- Association Leadership Scholars Program. This program builds future leaders at the component and national levels.
- Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership. A yearlong fellowship intended to help educators improve their leadership skills to facilitate change in physical therapy.
- Leadership Development Certificate Program. This curriculum supports leadership development through self-assessment of leadership strengths and weaknesses and identifying the tools needed to lead successfully.
- Leadership Academy. The American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAP) can provide affordable and accessible leadership training.
- RM Barney Poole Leadership Academy. This program offers PTs, PTAs, and students skills to grow personally and professionally. Attendees will understand how change and innovation require strong leadership.
Let the team at myPTsolutions help you advance your physical therapy career!