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Making the magic: Key elements and outcomes of dyad leadership in private practice

Insight Article - September 24, 2021


Leadership Development

Culture & Engagement

Effective leadership is a critical ingredient for a successful healthcare organization.1,2 Poor leadership of healthcare organizations (HCOs) can lead to increased costs, a decrease in organizational innovation, have a negative impact on patient outcomes, and damage provider well-being.3,4

Numerous skills are essential for effective leadership in healthcare, which has prompted the question of whether one individual can possess all the required skills to lead an HCO.5,6,7,8 These beliefs have led to dyad models of leadership,9 a formal leadership structure in which two people from different but complementary backgrounds are paired as a mini-team to provide leadership to an organization, department, project or service line.10 The team often consists of a physician leader (PL) and a dyad co-leader (DCL), an administrator with a business background.11

Dyad leadership in private practice

Despite informal industry surveys that report 77% of health leaders use a dyad model,12 there’s only one peer-reviewed article that examines the use of dyad leadership in private practice. Daiker (2009), in examining the underlying theory of shared leadership, asserts medical practices are complex organizations that employ primarily knowledge workers, or well-educated, sophisticated employees who produce goods or services.13

Since physician partners govern the organization and are the mechanisms of production, sharing leadership responsibilities between a PL and DCL is an effective leadership strategy. Daiker emphasizes that complex environments such as medical practices require expertise that may not exist in just one leader and asserts dyad leadership can be extremely effective in private practice — provided dyad teams share a vision, communicate well and often, clearly define roles, proactively resolve conflict, and take the time to build trust.14

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About the Author

Marella Alice Yates
Marella Alice Yates DHA, MSM, CMPE
Executive Director Advanced Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

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