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Lessons in 2022

By Dr. Suhyun An

In these last 12 months, what would you say has been the biggest change in your life?

Personally, the biggest thing that helped me grow this year was getting introduced to a
behavioral self-assessment tool of sorts, a simple survey that pinpointed exactly what
my strengths and weaknesses were. Many corporations and companies use tools like
this and you might have taken a similar assessment. This was so helpful for myself that
all my team has taken it and I also use it in the hiring process as well. This survey helps
ensure that the right person is hired for the right position in which they can shine and
perform the best being who they are. For example, an introverted person hired for the
front desk position would quickly feel stressed and burn out from having to deal with
people constantly.

Taking this survey gave me a crystal ball-like insight into who I am and how I operate —
my modus operandi, so to speak. My strengths are; ability to see complex issues and
recognize a pattern and solution very quickly, fast pace of doing things, and juggling
many things at the same time. My weaknesses? Impatience. “Unemployable a hole
because too driven, too ambitious, abrasive, too fast” is how the advisor described my
profile. “A sport car with all the weight on the gas pedal and nothing on the break.”

The weaknesses felt like a burn because perhaps I knew in my heart I hadn’t always
treated my team with the patience, understanding, and empathy they deserved. Staff
who have worked and left I know many of them left not the work itself but me, for lack of
appreciation, empathy and respect. Since this survey, I have been taking courses and
reading books on empathy and leadership. This has made the most impact in my
relationship with my team because I, gen x generation, work with mostly with millennials
and gen Z and we as a team take care of mostly boomer generation patients. Four
generations of people in one work place, think about that!

Each generations have their language and communication styles that appeal to them. I,
for example, grew up in Korea, and my parents did not spare corporal punishment. The
only way to get love from my parents was by achieving and even when I achieved,
praise was given few and far between. Once I almost failed a math class and my mother
cornered me with a stick and asked me if I was going to study harder and bring the
grade up or take a beating. I thought my mother was giving me a choice and I hated

math so I told her I would take the beating. She gave me a good beating and I still had
to study harder.

Whether I like it or not, this style of coercive “leadership” style was ingrained in me
because we naturally model our parents. This authoritarian and punitive leadership
style, “do this because I told you so and I am your boss” is the style that no longer
works in the 21st work place. It especially does not work for the younger generations of
the people. Now I ask questions like, “how do I let you know that I appreciate you?”
“What do you want to get most of your life and how can I help you achieve it?” Letting
them know that they are heard, seen, appreciated and most importantly, loved. This
is a work in progress, and I still have a lot to improve.

So this year, I’ve learned to lead by persuasion and not by authority. So I can inspire
my team to lead our patients to make healthier choices so they can transform their lives.

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