Author: Martina Stippler, MD, FACS
The topic of this issue is Leadership in Neurosurgery. Why did we choose to talk about this now? The reason is not hard to imagine, because since March, the world has changed very much for most of us. Things we thought would never change or could not be put on hold were cancelled. Operating rooms were shut down. Our schools were closed and are slow in opening up. Even our Annual Meeting — our beacon of learning, networking and celebration — had to be canceled, something that would not have seemed possible just six months earlier.
During this time, leaders of large and small companies, schools, governments, and organizations like ours around the world have had to make difficult decisions. Nancy Koehn, who studies leaders in crisis states, says that leaders are not born, but are forged in crises.
So, in this issue, we are giving you some insight and perspective on Leadership in Neurosurgery. Our profession often puts us in leadership positions inside and outside of the OR just by default. Who wants to take on a neurosurgeon? But leadership comes in many different styles and more naturally to some than to others. And it is something we have to work on; it is not a trait that is written into our genetic code. Dr. Harry van Loveren talks about exactly this in his executive coaching article.
The Congress of Neurological Surgeons tapped into our tendency to lead with the generation of the CNS Leadership Institute, which offers training for neurosurgeons along their career path. We hear from two leadership graduates: Dr. Analiz Rodriguez from the University of Arkansas and Dr. Sameer Sheth from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
Also interesting is Dr. Jeremy Hosein’s report on his experience in the White House Fellows Program that might inspire others to follow in his footsteps.
We also hear about two of our neurosurgeons and their response to the COVID pandemic. Both work in very different settings. Dr. David Langer reports on the challenges his department faced in New York City, and in an interview, we hear how military training prepared Dr. Rocco Armonda to make hard decisions.
I want to close with a quote Dr. Jonathan Martin tweeted in response to @CNS_ Update about the most important leadership advice:
“When piloting a boat, attend to the bow, but never forget about the wake. As a leader, you will be judged by both, and remembered more for the latter than the former.”
I hope you find our current issue inspiring as you learn from others and take on leadership challenges that come your way.
Stay healthy, stay safe.