Leadership malpractice: Focus on ethics, organizational culture, and prevention

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Fundamentals of Leadership for Healthcare Professionals


Numerous forces may lead to leadership malpractice. Personal and organizational ethics are two such forces, which may cause leaders to knowingly act dishonorably. Additionally, many different individual and organizational characteristics such as personality, external pressures, and lack of accountability may enable unprofessional behavior and poor decision making. Taken together, these variables may have a profound impact on the success of an organization. The importance of having a group of individuals whether they are legal teams, an engaged board of directors, or trusted colleagues who can speak freely and independently to offer counsel may prevent such disasters from occurring in the first place and will hold leaders accountable when things go wrong. This chapter provides a definition for leadership malpractice, a real world vignette that demonstrates the legal, economic, and personal ramifications of such malpractice, and proposes different approaches to minimize the odds that poor leadership decisions occur and how to lessen the blow if this issue ever rises.

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