Leadership Part 1

What is leadership? 

Sam: The ability to facilitate organization and action in people to achieve a vision. It requires good communication and transparency.

Amy: For me, leadership looks like someone who is passionate about what they are doing and they are willing to share that passion with others. It is someone who has a high level of emotional intelligence. A person who has a high self-awareness, the ability to manage themselves, high social awareness, and strong ability to negotiate other relationships.

Using the senses, describe leadership?

  • Visually:
    • Sam & Amy: They vary their body language based on the context, from confidence to receptive and always engaged in the moment. Their clothing choices are appropriate for the context and visually appealing.
  • Auditory:
    • Sam & Amy: A leader does not always have to be big and loud. At times they need to be quiet and small.
    • Word choice
      • Asking questions
        • Sam: I think a great leader is able to engage people. I like leaders who ask questions followed by one or two statements. Asking questions allows leaders to gauge what people know, so that they can introduce something new.
        • Amy: People respond when you ask them open ended and gentle questions and give them time to respond.
      • Culture: I vs. we
        • Sam: For me the term “we” is easier to use than “I”. I think it fits how my mind thinks as a leader. I think it’s easier to motivate people with inclusive language versus individualistic. Plus, I know that women are viewed as care-takers. Therefore, I use that to my advantage, and advocate for a group instead of myself. This increases buy-in and motivation to the vision.

Sometimes I think in English and Korean, even when I’m only speaking in English. In Korean, the term 우리 “oo-ri”(our) is used more than in English. For example: our mom, our dad, our country, our language is used. So as a Korean-American woman I think “we” is more comfortable and efficient to use.

  • Amy: I think the word “I” should be used when discussing your own individual feeling, thoughts, and opinions. For me, it is important to recognize that not everyone thinks the same as “me”, so I need to take ownership of my own thoughts. Individualistic society.
  • Smell:
    • Sam: They don’t smell repulsive.
    • Amy: And perhaps they smell “nice”.
  • Touch:
    • Amy: They use touch when needed to comfort and console as well as encourage and celebrate. They modify touch based on the context and the person/people they are touching.
    • Sam: With Americans, the handshake is firm and with Koreans, the handshake is soft. A good leader gives pats on the shoulder, high-fives, and hugs. They are able to convey positive and compassionate feelings through touch.
  • Proprioception:
    • Sam: Leaders know where they are at relative to everyone else in the room. I think becoming eye level with other people is an important trait.
    • Amy: They maintain an appropriate distance with others. At times, that requires them to be close, other times, further away.



Amy: Leadership requires adaptability, require vision, requires the ability to communicate and connect with others to work toward a common goal. Just because you are in a place of authority or management, does not mean you are leader. Too often, people are promoted to leadership positions based on seniority alone. CLINICAL PEARL: When working with a patient who is talking, and you need to redirect them, take that moment when they are taking a breath and gently interrupt by repeating what they just said, thanking them for that and then asking them another question that you want answered.

Sam: I think being able to connect with patients is important as a clinician because it allows for the PT to maximize the relationship for treatment.


Amy: Humility, recognizing that you don’t always know everything. Being willing to try. Taking risks.

Sam: Yeah, I agree humility is probably a huge part. As a gen-Y, I think it’s easier to ask questions to show humility. It allows me to give the benefit of the doubt to the more experienced person, and to communicate efficiently. I think the ability to use resources other than experience adds credibility to the vision. I also thinking, just stating the lack of experience adds to credibility as a leader because it shows that the leader is realistic.


What leadership characteristics do you have? How do you define leadership?

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