NSW Management Interns' Blog

Blog posts by NSW Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service Management. Views are those of the individual authors and not those of ACHSM or management interns’ host organisations or employers.

Oscar Chaffey
Oscar Chaffey

ACHSM blog

The Seven Sins of Leadership

Author: Benjamin Ferry

Date: 3 August 2015

I have recently had an opportunity to view some of the ACHSM webcasts. For those who haven’t had an opportunity to review these webcasts, there is a comprehensive database available.

One of these webcasts is a 2010 presentation on The Seven Sins of Leadership. It is presented by Professor Mohamed Khadra, Professor of Surgery at Sydney University and Head of Urological Surgery at the Nepean Hospital, New South Wales. Professor Khadra has had an extensive career in various health and educational settings around Australia and internationally. Furthermore, he has written three books on the Australian healthcare system. While I recommend you watch his 45-minute webcast, for those of you who are time-poor I have summarised the webcast, and applied an ACHSM Management Trainee perspective.

Before I list the seven sins, I anticipate that you will be able to identify managers or co-workers who exhibit one or even many of these traits. While it can be entertaining to diagnose these people, this train of thought misses the real opportunity that exists with this exercise. The real challenge is to ask ourselves which of these traits we have been guilty of and, moving forward, how we can improve our leadership style. Furthermore, can I suggest that these traits can apply to anyone in an organisation, regardless if you are CEO or a Management Intern.

The Seven Sins of leadership are as follows.


It’s important to note that having pride about the quality of your work or organisation can be positive or even desirable. However it is important not to focus on yourself in terms of organisation rank or position and in terms of claiming credit for achievements. As we know, there are not many achievements that occur in Health without multiple inputs from various stakeholders.

Greed and Gluttony

It is easy for many to say that, as an employee of a healthcare service, by virtue nobody could be guilty of greed or gluttony, and that this title should be reserved for Wall Street bankers. However, as we know there are finite resources in our health systems and organisations. When we make decisions about funding requests or spending, are we certain that we are acting in the best interest of all stakeholders or of a small minority?


There have been many who have lamented about how slow progress or change is within the healthcare system. However, we need to be responsible for our own decision-making processes. For example, are we organising meetings for a subject that could be resolved with an email or even a phone call? Are we being so risk-averse, that we are avoiding making a decision?


There are not many people who display physical outrage, and throw office furniture. However are we constantly using the 'us versus them' mentality? For example, Our department versus another department or organization?


Being more concerned about our next promotion opportunity rather than focusing on our current responsibilities. While there are many opportunities on erecruit, there are often similar opportunities within our own department or even our own portfolio.


Desperately wanting a position or role so badly, that we wish the person that currently holds that position would leave that role or the organisation.

On a more positive note Professor Khadra describes good leaders as displaying:


They know the direction of where the organization or department needs to move.


They can effectively explain to those around them how it is possible to achieve the vision.


They are open and consistent in regards to their decision-making process.


Not only are they compassionate to patients and the community, but also to their staff and co-workers.


They support their staff and co-workers through the good times and the bad.

To view this webcast and other great presentations, please visit the Resources >  Webcasts  section in the website menu above.

Benjamin is a 2nd year Management Intern in the NSW HMIP.

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