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Starting a new role can be exciting and stressful, especially at the executive level. As doctors, you may have already achieved great success in your medical career, but transitioning into a  corporate, board and public service position is challenging. Making a move to an executive role requires planning and preparation.

We’ve talked previously about how to get your dream role:

This month’s article looks at what happens when you accept a new role: how to prepare for the challenges and tips for a smooth transition.

Challenges of transitions

Knowing what you bring to the role

No matter what type of executive role you are interested in, you will be bringing your unique perspective, knowledge, experience and skillset to the role:

  1. Leadership: Successful executives have strong, effective leadership skills. These will help build trust and respect and help your teams and colleagues gain confidence in you and your abilities. It’s one of many soft skills that doctors often overlook
  2. Know when to ask for advice: You won’t be expected to have all the answers, so make sure you know whom you can ask for advice. Leverage your network of contacts, including other executives, advisors and mentors, to give you a different perspective on the situation you need help with
  3. Know your strengths: It’s essential to understand your strengths and weaknesses, so you know when to delegate tasks. Depending on the role, you may also want to look at developing those weak skills through relevant training programs

Preparing for the move to an executive role

Tips for a smooth transition

Knowing the steps of successfully transitioning to an executive role will take the pressure off even before you’ve started researching positions. It’s rooted in your core being – how you think, feel and act. So, what does this mean for you?

  1. Change your mindset: Even before applying for an executive role, you need to think as an executive. See yourself already in that role and genuinely believe you are worthy and capable of all that it requires of you. As a doctor considering a move out of health, you should realise your skillset is relevant and transferable. The job title is not necessarily reflective of the skills needed to do a role
  2. Develop your confidence: As you work on feeling confident within, you should also practice appearing confident. Pretending and appearing more confident can actually make you feel more confident. Practice at work, home, with friends, or at the next networking event. You may be surprised at how quickly you can overcome the fear that holds you back
  3. Be flexible: Any new role will require a period of adjustment. You will be working with people with different personalities and skillsets, so being flexible and open to change will help you settle in more quickly. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help – no one will expect you to know everything from your first day, and you don’t need to worry about impressing people. Be open to learning and asking questions from your new colleagues and manager


Taking on an executive role is a rewarding career move for doctors. You’re using your knowledge and experience to help others while at the same time gaining further skills and making a greater impact. By taking the time to prepare, you’ll be better positioned for success. You’ve done the hard work, now embrace the rewards.

If you would like help preparing for executive roles, I provide individual coaching and workshops tailored for executive opportunities. Contact me for a confidential chat at [email protected]

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