healthcare leader

Dyad relationships in health care. Still a good idea, still a challenge.

Barb Krantz Taylor | April 28, 2022 | Blog | 2 minute read

Many years ago, hospitals and health systems adopted the Dyad model, a partnership paradigm designed to allow physicians and administrators to bring their unique strengths and styles to their leadership within departments, clinics, practice groups, etc. With this model in place for so long, you'd think healthcare would have mastered it. And many have. But for each of my clients who "love" their dyad partner (both physicians and administrators), several tolerate the relationship. And, just so you know, the criticism comes from both sides of this partnership!

So, even as the model is sound, the reality continues to challenge the best of leaders. I won't go into the challenges, since I imagine most of you reading this blog are quite familiar with these issues, whether you have experienced them yourself or not. What I do want to talk about is what to do about it.

But I warn you, there is no easy answer here. No 10 steps to improve (or repair) your dyad partnership. And that's because at the root of all these issues is the lack of the necessary interpersonal skills and emotional maturity required to truly partner with another professional who is different than you but equal to you. You don't learn these things in medical school or from a healthcare MBA.

What it takes is natural talent—rooted in your personality—as well as "character" development that comes from honest self-assessment and self-management of your strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and drivers of career satisfaction. Yes, it takes personal work from the inside out that will determine your success as a dyad.

How do you start? First, an honest reflection…

What are your greatest strengths? What do you love to do? What do you hate to do? What would you do if you had all the required time and money you wanted? What is the common comments others make about how you could improve? (Even if you don't agree with their assessment, there are likely some themes.)

Want some more… How are you different when you are at your best and at your worst? How do you "put on your armor" when the heat is on? What makes you feel vulnerable? Powerful? Why were you put on this earth? What are you most proud of? What are you most embarrassed about? Creating opportunities to share your answers to these questions with your dyad partner is likely to lead to many "aha's" about why the working relationship works—or does not.

Great dyad partners also develop some critical "character" components, namely open-mindedness balanced with fierce resolve. Flexibility balanced with discipline. Courage balanced with vulnerability. Logic balanced with empathy and compassion. And confidence balanced with humility. Leadership requires living these dualities, purposefully. How are you doing here? Struggling to find that balance? You are not alone. Developing these aspects of character is a lifelong journey.

As I mentioned, there are no easy answers here. There is no quick fix to the real challenges in leading, and in working effectively with a dyad partner. If both members of the dyad would take the time and build the trust to discuss their answers to these and other more work-related subjects, the relationship would be better for it. The journey is at once fulfilling and daunting.

There are two pieces of good news here. First, if you and your dyad partner could use a facilitator to help you delve into these conversations to improve your working relationship, The Bailey Group can help. Secondly, even if only ONE of you is willing to do this work, it will still improve your working relationship. Yep, as I get better at my "EQ", the easier OTHERS are for me to work with! Please reach out to me at [email protected] if I can be of help.