Unit Lead: Cathy MacLean

Unit Supervisors: Anurag Saxena, Kent Stobart, Cindy Deschenes

This unit focuses on competencies the Clinician Educator (CE) will need in order to lead teams that have an education orientation. Leadership skills are an essential ingredient in the development of new curricula, the integration of education activities within the structure and function of academic organizations and systems, the mentoring of colleagues, and the negotiation and management of conflicts. This unit will provide the CE with the theoretical framework and practical skills that he or she will require to implement the activities planned in other units.

Prerequisites:  Foundations

Although there are no other prerequisites, this unit may be best appreciated toward the midpoint or end of the diploma program, when concepts from the core units and increasing experience as an educator have been established.

Competencies Address in this Unit

A CE must be able to:

  • Develop and describe his or her personal leadership philosophy
  • Lead a team toward the completion of an education project

Key Documents


1.  Demonstrate comprehension of leadership theory and context, by

  • describing the skills and characteristics of effective leaders in education
  • analyzing his or her own leadership styles and skills
  • describing the organizational structure and function of medical education systems in academic (regional or national) and clinical contexts

2.  Demonstrate good intrapersonal practices, by

  • preparing a list of personal and professional leadership goals and a leadership vision
  • applying time management tools to align the time allocated to tasks with personal values

3.  Demonstrate good interpersonal practices, by

  • applying (in theory or in practice) a framework for dealing with conflict in an educational context
  • identifying the skills required of an effective mentor

4.  Demonstrate good organizational and systems practices, by

  • leading a team with the goal of completing a project
  • applying (in theory or in practice) a framework for bringing about a change in an educational program
  • describing the steps for strategic planning in medical education


  • Please refer to the Task List for the Educational Leadership Unit for a complete listing of the summative and formative assessments required for this unit.
  • Final Unit Report (to be filled in by supervisor)

Suggested Readings


  • Aschenbrener CA, Siders CT. Part 2, Conflict management. Managing low-to-mid intensity conflict in the health care setting.  Physician Exec. 1999;25(5):44–7.
  • Berwick DM. Disseminating innovations in health care. JAMA. 2003;289(15):1969–75.
  • Drucker PF. Managing oneself. Harv Bus Rev. 1999;77(2):64–74
  • Goleman D. Leadership that gets results. Harv Bus Rev. 2000(78(2):78–90.
  • Gratton L, Erickson TJ. 8 ways to build collaborative teams.  Harv Bus Rev. 2007;85(11):100–9, 153.
  • Kotter JP. What leaders really do. Harv Bus Rev. 2001;79(11):85–96.
  • Lieff S, Albert M. 2012. What do we do? Practices and learning strategies of medical education leaders. Med Teach 2012;34(4):312–9.
  • Siders CT, Aschenbrener CA. Conflict management, Part 1. Conflict management checklist: a diagnostic tool for assessing conflict in organizations. Physician Exec. 1999;25(4):32–7.
  • Souba WW. Academic medicine and the search for meaning and purpose. Acad Med. 2002;77(2):139–44.
  • Sull DN, Houlder D. Do your commitments match your convictions? Harv Bus Rev. 2005;Jan 82–91.
  • Yuki G, A Gordon A, Taber T. A hierarchical taxonomy of leadership behaviour: integrating a half century of behaviour research. J Leadersh Org Stud. 2002;9(1):15–32.


  • Covey SR. The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York: Free Press; 2004. 
  • Fisher R, Ury W. Getting to yes: negotiating agreement without giving in. New York: Penguin Books; 1991. Borrow it from the USask Faculty Development library!
  • Goleman D, Boyatzis RE, McKee A. Primal leadership: learning to lead with emotional intelligence. Boston (MA): Harvard Business School Press; 2004.
  • Kotter JP. Leading change. Cambridge (MA): Harvard Business School Press; 1996.
  • Kouzes JM, Posner BZ. The leadership challenge. San Francisco (CA): Jossey-Bass; 2002.

Book chapters

  • Bland CJ, Wersal L. Effective leadership for curricular change. In: Norman GR, van der Vleuten CPM, Newble DI, editors. International handbook of research in medical education. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers; 2002. p. 969–79.
  • McKimm J, Swanwick T. Educational leadership. In: Swanwick T, McKimm J, editors. ABC of clinical leadership. Chichester (UK): Wiley-Blackwell/BMJ Books; 2011. p. 38–43.

Online resources

You can also check-out hard copies of resources the USask Faculty Development Library has available.  Visit them here.  For more information or to request a book, please contact medicinefaculty.development@usask.ca 


We do our best to keep our reading lists up to date, however some articles may not always be relevant or accessible without permissions.  If you find an article that is unavailable, please let your supervisor know.  Please also let your supervisor know if you have suggestions for other resources.