Henri R. Ford: Learn to lead with compassion

Henri R. Ford: Learn to lead with compassion

By Brittney Bomnin

Henri R. Ford: Learn to lead with compassion

By Brittney Bomnin
University faculty and staff members joined a virtual conversation with the Miller School of Medicine dean, where he spoke candidly about his experiences as a leader in the medical field.

As part of a series of weekly webinars launched by the University’s Human Resources Talent and Organizational Development team, Dr. Henri R. Ford, dean of the Miller School of Medicine, shared his thoughts on making a difference with compassion. More than 300 University faculty and staff members joined the virtual conversation on Friday, May 15. The following are a few takeaways from Ford, who spoke candidly about his experiences as a leader in the medical field.

“Leadership is not about trying to seek power or influence; it’s about service and trying to improve the condition of others.”

The process of leadership development is a gradual one that starts at any place in your lifetime. It is an iterative process you build on, but the fundamental requirement is the desire to make a difference in the lives of others. It comes with caring. “When I talk about having understanding and caring, it comes down to compassion,” said Ford.

As dean at the Miller School, Ford’s job is to create the right learning environment for all and make sure everyone has the necessary resources, so they can practice their craft and excel at their job. As he puts it, “leaders live vicariously through the success of people they lead.”

“Compassion is at the core of all the decisions we are making.”

With every decision made, leaders at institutions like the University of Miami must consider how it will affect a community of people who are hurting and facing personal challenges. “Compassion doesn't mean you’re not going to make difficult decisions and you're soft,” explained Ford. Asking for help is at the core of teamwork. It’s impossible to think one can do it all. As a leader and team member, acknowledging that the individual does not have all the tools and that we achieve our best together makes the team stronger.

“The response at the Miller School of Medicine has been an impressive team effort,” Ford pointed out. “We have dedicated people at all levels of this institution making me excited and optimistic.” Witnessing enormous examples of selflessness and people trying to make a difference in the lives of others is compassion at work. It all begins with compassion and understanding that others are facing challenges and stress and wanting to try to mitigate those problems—from medical students switching to virtual learning while collecting funds to purchase and deliver PPE to frontline workers, to others volunteering to cook meals, provide childcare, staff the poison control hotline, or basic science researchers offering their support to the clinical labs to provide rapid testing.

Your turn.

Show compassion to those around you, whether by saying “thank you” or listening to a colleague. Find ways to spread kindness at the U. Take the time to recognize a fellow ’Cane, honor your doctor, or send a personalized note of gratitude.

 

Explore virtual professional development opportunities by attending a future webinar or by registering for a course via ULearn—available for staff members and individuals with direct reports. Learn more.