The Six Key Facets of Successful Physician Leadership

by Coach Jill Farmer | Leadership, Physician Coaching, Podcast

Physician Leadership Success by Meeting the Six Facets of Human Needs with Jeanet Wade.

In this episode we discuss effective physician leadership.

“For anyone who’s running a business and physicians especially, you need to take time to care for yourself. Because whenever you get clear and you take a break and you have gratitude, you have a higher level of confidence coming in and people follow people with confidence, they rally around them.” -Jeanet Wade

In today’s episode, Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer talks with Business Alchemist Jeanet Wade about effective leadership. You will hear the six facets of human needs to consider as a leader: Clarity, connection, contribution, challenge, consideration and confidence. Jeanet goes over these facets with Jill and also gives us an explanation and examples. Jeanet’s focus is always on building healthy teams and healthy bottom lines. As the first Expert EOS Implementer™ in the St. Louis region, facilitating, teaching and coaching the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) to leadership teams at privately-held companies, she developed a reputation for helping clients get Traction® on their Vision by leveraging her experience in marketing, innovation, and management.  Because of her passion for people and insights into the basic human needs that must be met in order to fully actualize the potential of a team, she quickly became known as the go-to resource for how to have effective, healthy teams that allow the business to harness their people energy and maximize their “Return on Individual.” 

Jeanet was also named one of the Top 100 St. Louisans to know to succeed in business by St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

You can find her book, “The Human Team: So, You Created A Team But People Showed Up!

For more about Jeanet, visit her website,, or follow her on LinkedIn,

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Please enjoy the full transcript below

Jeanet: For anyone who’s running a business and physicians especially, you need to take time to care for yourself. Because whenever you get clear and you take a break and you have gratitude, you have a higher level of confidence coming in and people follow people with confidence, they rally around them.

[DocWorking theme]

Jill: Hi, everyone. We are so glad you’re here on DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast. I’m Jill Farmer, Master certified life coach and one of the lead coaches at DocWorking and one of the co-hosts of the DocWorking Podcast, and today, I’m really excited to be joined by Jeanet Wade. Jeanet is an author, as well as an expert at helping people in organizations thrive. She uses strategy, execution, and team health to help transform organizations. She does this across industries with a holistic approach that goes beyond a formulaic strategy. Her ideas are not just pie in the sky theories, it is rooted in hard data and evidence gathered from a long career. I love Jeanet how you try to help leaders change the way companies operate, and the way that teams operate together, so that people can thrive in business, and frankly, in life as well. 

I think this is important for physicians, specifically, because I hear all the time from physician clients that, if not coming from sort of a business or corporate background, they sometimes feel like they don’t have that training or development and how to be good leaders or how to help facilitate that thriving team mentality, and that you talk about in your latest book, The Human Team. So, what do you notice in healthcare organizations and with physicians that their needs are that can be helped by the work that you talk about in your book?

Jeanet: What I’m finding is that physicians and those types of practices struggle with a lot of the same things, almost every organization, even small business struggles with and really, you know, ineffective people sustaining engagement, retention, having enough time and attention to give to the people, just wondering how to do tough people decisions, and when are they going to find the time to do that. So, the struggle with people is real [laughs] and almost every business, or medical practice, or any organization that has a few people in it struggles with it. Because people show up. I mean, they show up with their nature, and we don’t have time for that, and we try to do things to the best of our ability within what little bit of time we have to nurture different outcomes, and we try to do all of the business things we do learn, and something’s missing. 

People now are finding out that that missing thing is causing a lot of stress, and tension, and strain in their organizations. In fact, I was listening to an interview of someone yesterday talking about nurses, and the strain and tension and other medical practices as well just with COVID and everything going on. They’re just not getting their needs met. So, there’s been an exodus or an exit of nursing going on, because these needs haven’t been met.

Jill: Yeah, it’s a real challenge, and I often will have physicians come to me who have either standalone practices or are working in hospital settings in their division, and I hear a lot of everything would be okay, if XYZ person or people would just do x. [laughs] There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about just wishing that other people would be different than they are, but particularly behaving differently than they are. So, you talk about in The Human Team, this idea of an adaptable blueprint that leaders need to be thinking about for gaining better control of team dynamics that isn’t just I wish people would act differently, so things would work better. Can you talk a little bit more about that? 

Jeanet: Absolutely. Yeah, wishing and hoping is not a strategy for sure. Basically, what was discovered through research, observation, and being with tons of teams, probably, almost 600 full day sessions right now with leadership teams at small organizations, and some of them are medical practices or veterinary practices, and this framework of getting six facets of human needs met actually helps you increase the odds of multiplying the effect from people, getting return on individuals, and honestly, just the key to healthy functioning teams. We’ve moved from this industrial economy about 100 years ago that we used to have into the service and people economy, and many of us haven’t adapted into that well enough to get these human needs met, so that our teams are really truly functional. 

You really want peace of mind, get these six things right. The six facets of human needs which are clarity, connection, contribution, challenge, consideration, and confidence. Running your practice, running your business becomes easier, because the people are able to fully self-actualize as a team. So, Maslow talked about individual self-actualization and getting fundamental needs met. What we haven’t done successfully for organizations say, how does that work with communities, teams, organizations, groups of people, and that’s what this does.

Jill: So, let’s talk a little bit, if you don’t mind, I think the six facets of human needs are so helpful, because we have this idea, “Yeah, yeah, everybody’s got these human needs.” But to really identify them in the Cs as you did, can we just go through each one of them briefly and talk about what you mean by helping to make sure that those are actualized in a team setting, briefly?

Jeanet: Yeah, no, absolutely. The first one was clarity. In a team setting or any group of people, if we lack that clarity, it’s like being in the fog. They get confused, they make assumptions, they go the wrong directions, and we get frustrated by them if that need isn’t met. So, making sure that we’re giving them proper context, or purpose, or the why we’re doing things, giving them the information, they need to be able to do their jobs well with absolute clarity without a doubt, because the cost is high. When we don’t have clarity, we tend to have conversation failures. We assume and they assume that we all understand each other. 

Conversation failures on average cost us about $5,700 and about seven days of time. We’ve all done it, we’ve all said, “Hey, could you do XYZ, thinking that they understood us only to find out that they wasted a lot of time or they procrastinated, they didn’t do anything, they didn’t do it the way we thought they were going to do it, and then we had to readjust and wasted time or cost was spent.” So, clarity is absolutely a need. We all have a need to be clear. I just had a practice talk to me on the phone last week about one of the practice leaders on the leadership team wasn’t clear on what the organization wanted them to focus on, on the leadership team. They understood their role as doctor, [giggles] but they didn’t understand what am I supposed to do to help run this business when it goes one for me threw me on this team, and now, I’m not sure what to do, and they’ve been making it up for six months. So, they cost a waste of time for that doctor’s billable hours, but also not getting the results they want it from that person joining the team.

Jill: Oh, a great example. Okay. What are some of the other facets and how they impact team dynamics?

Jeanet: The second one is becoming more important. If you’re worried about this attrition and you want more retention on your teams, because talent is difficult to get now, the connection facet is really that humans need to belong together. They need to feel loyalty and connection to each other. When we get that, we’re retaining them. We can retain 77% of the people on our staff that we want to retain, if we only keep them connected to us, and that’s not just through communication and team building activity, but also understanding that they connect to where they are, and that’s been really difficult during COVID. Because we haven’t been able to come together as much and gather have purposeful ways of connecting. 

We also connect, and I’m trying to find a better word than this, but I think this really says it. We connect through ritual, the repetition of things that this office always does this every month, or this office does this every week, or this is how we start our mornings, and we start to count on that and connect to it. We’re like, “This is how our team operates and I’m part of the team.” So, keeping connection actually improves the energy of the team and their ability to be functional and stay sticky to each other, meaning, they retain, they stay with the organization.

Jill: We talk a lot at DocWorking about attrition and how expensive it is for healthcare systems to hire new physicians. So, really working hard on ways to support physicians to thrive in their current situation so that they don’t leave or get burned out, because it’s painful and hard on the physicians and it’s really hard on the organizations, and connection is a big key of what we’ve done in our DocWorking Thrive subscription program is to provide a place where physicians can come together, you know, outside of work as well and feel connected to other physicians feel seen, be able to share ideas, and get coaching and support. So, of course, connection is near and dear to my heart. 

I think, you bring up a really good point. A lot of times leaders, I’ve seen it in organizations across sectors including health care, I think, oh, well, they’re coming to work every day, but we don’t really have to do anything to foster connection. As you talked about the rituals, those other components of making sure that people feel like they belong [giggles] is actually not just something that spontaneously happens. Sometimes, it really needs to be cultivated as leaders. Let’s talk about confidence, too. I know that’s another one of your six facets that I think is one that leaders, sometimes think is fixed and individuals on teams and they forget what their role is to help support or foster that.

Jeanet: Yeah, I mean, natural and we know this from the nature of the instincts, and reactions, and brain functions, human beings, as an animal naturally have fear, apprehension, and doubt. We’re wired to resist, we tend to look at the negative, and so, building up confidence in the team is really key. What I find in some of the cultures in smaller businesses and practices is that, there are a lot of cultures and ways of doing it that were dictatorships, a lot of ego behind it, they didn’t embrace failure, they scream and yell at each other. I had a veterinary practice where they really have a challenge with building confidence and trust, and the ability to make mistakes on the team, because there’s such a high level of expectation perfection. 

I’ll just say, for one of the leaders, a little bit of tyranny and dictatorship embedded in the culture, and I’m finding that’s not unusual in these smaller organizations, and it’s almost a rite of passage, it’s how it’s always been. It’s a ritual that needs to probably break because we need to embrace failure in organizations, and I’m not saying the high-risk failures, I’m not saying the medical failures. So, we obviously have compliance and we have things that we must do. But there’s smaller things and running the business side that we can count on people to do that aren’t deal breakers, aren’t major risks to the organizations, things like allowing someone to order office supplies for you instead of you doing it for yourself so that you can actually focus on patient care. 

I’m always amazed when I see people who are running businesses doing things that they should not be doing, because they don’t allow other people to take the chance to do it. A lot of times, it’s super small stuff, and I say office supplies because I literally see small things like that, and it baffles me that they don’t give people a chance to do it. So, embracing that failure and allowing people to make mistakes and learn from and say, “So, what do we learn from that, how do we get better?” It’s a continuous improvement and honoring of it. 

Also, I think, for anyone who’s running a business, and physicians especially, you need to take time to care for yourself. Because whenever you get clear, and you take a break, and you have gratitude, you have a higher level of confidence coming in, and people follow people with confidence. They rally around them. So, if you’re building confidence and trust in yourself, you’ll build confidence and trust in the team, because confident teams and confident leaders adapt and innovate faster. 98% of people perform better when they’re confident. So, if you can build up the confidence, and trust, and ability to take chances, and innovate, and continuously improve in the organization, you have much higher odds of scaling your business.

Jill: Really, really good information. There’s such a misnomer out there in the world that confidence should come from being perfectionist in the best, and achieving, and I hear it all the time people say, “Oh, I feel connected and I trust you, because you admit it when things go wrong or when mistakes are made,” because I get curious about what I can learn from that. You know, it’s taken a while for me to foster that the ego had to take a good beating for what lot of years. [laughs] I had to go through some real ego death to get to that point, but I can say to the lived experience, it definitely is true. Okay, the last few of these six facets. Let’s talk about contribution. What do you mean by that?

Jeanet: Contribution, I’ll just sum it up by saying, there’s so much to getting people to contribute. They need to contribute to their highest best use their natural skills and ability. Sometimes, we have people contributing and ways in which they’re not naturally able to do it, and it frustrates them, and they fail. So, when they can’t contribute, they’re distracting, we’ve seen that they gossip on the corners or they’re detracting from the team. We want to tap into everyone’s natural abilities as much as we possibly can. But probably the biggest takeaway is to know that the size of the team matters. Too, often will form these partnership structures and practice structures that have way too many people in the room making decisions. Because size matters, not everyone can contribute. 

If you think about a rope pool, which was researched in the Ringelmann effect, if you put one person on each side of the rope pool, they each contributed 100%. The more people we add to the rope pool on each side, the less their contribution was it went down percentages. Until it reached about seven or 10 people on each side, there were literally at least one person on each team that weren’t pulling at all. They weren’t pulling their weight. Those are the ones we get frustrated with because we know it, but we can’t tell because it’s we’re all absorbing the work and making it happen. 

But I think the biggest thing within physician practices and for doctors is that, empathy evaporates beyond team sizes of 15. So, it’s just the natural grouping and your teams will start to fall apart and break apart. So, if your practices at 15 people are greater, you’re not able to be empathetic with each other, which means you’re not also able to be empathetic with your patients and people you serve.

Jill: The solution to that is to create smaller teams within the organization so that people do have a place to contribute and to feel like they have some connection to the greater good of the organization?

Jeanet: People tend to contribute at higher levels of the team size, maintains around three to seven people. Which is why you’ll hear a lot of times people say, “We create pods. So, I have a physician, a nurse, and an assistant that work together and they’re a pod.” So, they’ll not only build a stronger level of connection, loyalty to each other, but they’ll also fully contribute because they learn how to capitalize on each individual’s unique natural ability and highest best use.

Jill: Excellent. Let’s talk about the last two. Consideration, what do we mean by that?

Jeanet: Consideration is probably the biggest one for this audience today, especially, after listening to the two-hour interviews about nursing shortages, and why they’re leaving, and there were a lot of things around salaries and pay. But the vast majority of the feedback they were getting in all the interviews was that they don’t feel regarded or considered as human beings that they’re not being seen and appreciated. They’re not being acknowledged for all the extra effort being put in. I think that, that’s with every job I’m seeing right now. I mean, we’re seeing it and fast food. 

I pulled up to a restaurant yesterday, and they surprisingly closed the day before because of a lack of staffing, and the note said, “We all quit because we weren’t being appreciated.” So, [laughs] and that’s just in my own local backyard, and I know I’m seeing new stories. So, we’re not robots. Human beings need to be appreciated. You must take time to be thankful and grateful. Otherwise, they will leave. 66% of people leave because they’re not appreciate it, and that’s been a statistic for years, even pre-COVID. So, human beings are not human doings. You must acknowledge their humaneness and who they are as a whole person and what’s really going on and listen carefully. 

If you can understand their language of appreciation, some people like words of affirmation, some people like gifts, some people just like high fives. So, understand how each person likes to be appreciated, and give them that, and you will see more result, and return, and multiple effort.

Jill: Ah, fantastic piece of information for everybody. Then, let’s talk about challenge. I think, again, another misnomer is that people are working along to get to the point where they can so that everything’s easy, and it turns out, there’s diminishing returns [laughs] once things become too easy for us. Talk more about that.

Jeanet: Absolutely. When we’re not challenged as human beings, we get lazy brains. Basically means we get complacent, “Well this is the way I’ve always done it.” We get that kind of thing. We don’t get into a growth mindset, we don’t adapt or change very fast, and challenge is really key. Now, what you’ll find is people resist as leaders and business owners resist challenging people on their teams, because they’re worried. Well, they’re already busy, they already feel challenged, I don’t want to create conflict, and that’s really not what we mean by challenge. I’d like for you to think about it as I got to put on a coaching mindset. I got to think about the best coach or teacher I ever had and how they challenged me to be better than I ever thought I could be, and put that mindset in and just give them a shot at doing something bigger, better, and more masterful than they did before. 

You’ll get a little bit of resistance. You want to make the challenges just the right size and just kind of stair step them up, because I’ve coached and challenged people as I’m sure you have Jill, and they have a resistance, I’m not sure I can, I don’t know if I want to do it, “Why are you making me do this?” They’ve said things like that. I said, “Could you just do this one small thing to give it a shot?” Inevitably, they come back three months, six months, a year later and say. “I’m so glad you pushed me, I’m so glad that you challenge me, I’m so glad you coached me or you said that,” because I didn’t want to do it, but I needed it. So, that’s why it’s a need. It’s a need to be challenged. We all want to improve, we all want to get better, we all want to level up. Great leaders, great managers or practices get us out of complacency. They say, “We can do better.” 

COVID was a great complacency shaker. [laughs] It’s a great way to challenge us but now we’re burning out. We really need to balance out all six Cs. If you’re not getting all six met. You’re not maintaining clarity of focus of purpose, you’re not maintaining a connection. If you’re in a rural area, keeping the physicians connected to the community so that they don’t want to leave and go to another place. Helping everyone fully contribute might mean that they need to take a few breaks and recesses on the brain so that they can come back in and contribute. I know, I can’t contribute fully if I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. So, sometimes, we need to look at those things. Being coaching mindset and challenging each other, we come together through challenge. We all build bonds through challenge really appreciating everyone’s effort and giving them what they need in order to fill regard it, and building up the confidence of the organization that we could do anything will multiply the effect to help you scale, you’ll be more peaceful about how the groups coming together the team is functioning because people will show up in a much better place.

Jill: Ah, just beautifully said, and I just had the situation coaching a Chief of Surgery recently, and there was a lot of confusion. This is a great human being really trying their best, but they either thought challenge meant testing. There are people were there was a high risk of failure, and then you know, there was a lot of insecurity that was created in the model of the way that they were challenging or there was a presumption by the leader, “It’s just easier if I do it myself because they’re already pressurized, and they don’t want me to challenge them.” 

So, being able to use these concepts you’ve just talked about to help the physician leader, the Chief better understand that when you’re providing a challenge for somebody with the faith in them that they can achieve the challenge, those two are necessary partnership from a leadership coaching perspective. If you’re coaching your team to help them more likely achieve the success, we want them to achieve. So, beautifully said. I think you’ve given us so many just fantastic ideas. I can’t recommend the human team enough for physicians, physician leaders, others in health care. I think there’s just a lot of fantastic information. Jeanet Wade, how can people get ahold of you if they want to learn more about what you do?

Jeanet: You can go to my website, which is, and on there, there is a section for the human team where you can get coaching guides, assessments, you can click over to order the book, my contact information is out there. So, yeah, if anybody needs anything, I’m here to help answer any questions.

Jill: Jeanet Wade, you have given us such amazing information. This is one of those ones you might want to put on replay everybody, because I think there’s just fantastic information for all of us whether releasing a pod of two or three people, or in a group that we want to help somebody who’s leading us do a better job, these concepts of the six facets of human needs, I just think are really helpful, especially, in these times to help physicians thrive. So, thank you so much for this conversation. 

Thank you to everybody who showed up today. Be sure you tell your friends about DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast because we are here to serve you. Until next time, I’m Jill Farmer.

Jen: As a busy physician, you’re managing a lot. A lot of people depend on you, your patients, your colleagues and staff, your family to get up every day and do all of the things that you do is an accomplishment. But when is the last time you stopped and thought about where am I going with this? What would I like to see for myself in one year, in five years, in 10 years? What if you had a group of experienced coaches and a community of physicians there to support you to help you figure out what matters to you, not just at this point in your life, but going forward this year, next year indefinitely? What if you had that support to help you find a way to integrate what matters to you in your career with what matters to you outside of work?

If that sounds appealing to you, our program DocWorking Thrive maybe just for you. Please check us out It’s D-O-C-W-O-R-K-I-N-G dotcom or email me, [email protected].

[DocWorking theme]

Amanda: This is Amanda Taran. I’m the producer of DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast. Please don’t forget to like and subscribe, and thank you for listening.


Top Coach for Doctors and Healthcare Professionals, top life coach. 

Jill Farmer is an experienced physician coach who has been helping doctors live their best lives, increase their success, and move through burnout for well over a decade.

She has delivered keynotes, programs, and training everywhere from Harvard Medical School to the American College of Cardiology.

She has personally coached hundreds of physicians, surgeons, and other busy professionals to help them be at their best—without burning themselves out. Her coaching has supported professionals at places like Mass General Brigham in Boston, Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern University in Chicago and too many others to list.

Jill wrote the book on time management for busy people. Literally. It’s called “There’s Not Enough Time…and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” which debuted as a bestseller on Amazon. Her work has been featured everywhere from Inc. to Fitness Magazine to The Washington Post.

Nationally recognized as a “brilliant time optimizer and life maximizer,” Jill will cut straight to the heart of your stress to liberate you from its shackles. She has two young adult daughters. She lives with her husband and their poorly behaved dachshund in St. Louis, MO.

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