Year in review: Tips for effective graduate medical education programme leadership and management

William Rainey Johnson*, Adam M. Barelski, John G. Blickle, Melanie L. Wiseman, Joshua Hartzell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Programme leaders in graduate medical education (GME) are responsible for the final stage of physician training, guiding the transition from supervised to independent practice. The influence of GME programme leaders extends beyond clinical practice, affecting trainees' relationship with and attitudes towards the healthcare system, future leadership behaviours, work-life prioritisations and professional identity among others. Given the potential magnitude of GME programme leaders' impact, both positive and negative, on GME trainees, we reflected on our shared leadership model that developed iteratively as a leadership team. We draw on our experiences to emphasise practical leadership behaviours and provide a summary of our observations, leading to nine recommendations for effective GME programme leadership and associated suggestions for implementation. We divide our recommendations into four leadership recommendations and five management recommendations. Throughout, we highlight the process of developing our shared leadership model, recognising that our process and observations will aid leadership teams in evaluating and, potentially, adapting our recommendations to meet their needs. We anticipate that leaders and leadership teams at every level will find value in our recommendations, even if our intended audience is GME leaders from chief residents to programme directors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000724
JournalBMJ Leader
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • coaching
  • development
  • emotional intelligence
  • management
  • mentoring


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