A Performance Review, Toddler Toys and Joy: Observations on professional and personal growth

May 6, 2023 | Articles, Career Growth, Mentorship

By Nwando Eze

I recently completed an annual performance evaluation. While I was grateful in all the areas of achievement, there were some areas where I could have done better in communicating with my team. To fill this gap, I decided to dedicate time to working on certain pertinent areas of communication.

In the process of developing and implementing a learning plan in this area, I discovered that as I worked on being a better communicator professionally, this effort naturally spread to other areas of my life. I found myself asking my kids more open-ended questions, allowing them to take the lead in certain endeavors and communicating my trust in this way,  checking in with family members I had not connected with in a while just to see how they were doing, closing communication loops with colleagues I volunteer with, and picking up the phone to call and chat if messages sent via email or text were not clear. My toddler now loves to clean up his toys after play since I started communicating using positive reinforcement with praise.

I realized that had this issue not been identified in my professional career, I may never have had an opportunity to grow in this area in my personal life. I have noticed that as my communication at work improves, my relationships, in all areas of my life, also improve. The perception my friends and family have of me has improved. My overall happiness, joy and satisfaction as a human being has improved. As difficult as it is to take in performance feedback, I now view it as not just an opportunity to grow as a leader but as a human being. The fact is my role serving as a healthcare leader creates opportunities not just for professional growth but personal growth as well. 

I appreciate CAHL and ACHE because they support this growth by providing opportunities for continued professional development and improvement. The multiple webinars, qualified education events, virtual and in-person face-to-face events, networking events, among other resources, fertilize growth in our professional lives. In supporting our professional growth, these resources also support our personal growth and development as human beings. And while it is a tough time to be a healthcare leader, I remain grateful that with every revealed opportunity for professional growth, I also progress into the best version of myself in my personal life. I grow as a loving mother and wife, a caring sister, a good friend, and a more conscientious human being. Every healthcare leader has this unique opportunity. And what a wonderful version of our world we would create if we all embraced any opportunity for professional growth leading to personal development. 

Nelson Mandela gave us a pivotal pearl for embracing a growth mindset. “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” Healthcare leaders should look forward to any identified areas for professional growth. We should view them, not as a loss but a win. And in so doing, we embrace an opportunity to make our world better by using the learnings as an opportunity to develop into the best version of ourselves for all of those around us.

Nwando Eze MD, MPH, MBA, FACHE, FAAP, is regional medical director of neonatology at The Permanente Medical Group Northern California and Co-Chair of the CAHL Clinical Leadership Committee. In March, she spoke at the ACHE 2023 Congress on “Moving from Person-Centered to Equity-Centered Care”