Expert leadership – why psychiatrists should lead mental health services – Australasian Psychiatry

In most Anglosphere nations, managers have replaced doctors in the executive suites of the health sector. Managers were expected to be more efficient, effective and responsive. However, with many health services in disarray, it is fair to ask whether the switch from doctors to managers could be partly to blame. In this special international issue, we hear from medical experts and management scholars. The President of the World Psychiatric Association, Professor Dinesh Bhugra, has helped define the field of psychiatric leadership.1 In his current article he introduces the concept of expert leadership, and the requirement that expert leaders combine knowledge, experience and technical competence with innate ability and leadership training, in order to meet the challenges of changing times.2 Goodall (2016) presents a theory of expert leadership (TEL) in psychiatry that raises testable hypotheses about how psychiatrist-leaders might improve organisational performance.3 She suggests that psychiatristexecutives are viewed as being more credible by their peers. Because they have the same training, they are also more likely to understand the motivations of other psychiatrists, and therefore set appropriate goals, and evaluate and support their colleagues. We are currently investigating TEL in a collaboration between Cass Business School, City University London and Flinders University in Adelaide

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