Deborah B. Diercks, MD, MSc, FACEP is Professor and inaugural Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center where she holds the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Distinguished Chair in Clinical Care and Research. As a nationally recognized leader in the specialty, Dr. Diercks oversees the emergency medicine programs at UT Southwestern University Hospitals and Parkland Health & Hospital System, which together constitute one of the largest emergency medicine programs in the nation. Dr. Diercks is the 2015-2016 President of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and is on the Board of Directors for the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Additionally, she is active in several committees of the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and American College of Emergency Physicians.
1) What is your leadership style? How did you arrive at this style?
I think that I have 2 different leadership styles predominately: Participative and Transformational. Participative leadership is utilizes a democratic platform and seeks input from team members and peers. A transformational style uses motivation to enhance productivity of the group.
I try to function in a participative style as I feel that is what is needed to increase engagement, however in my current situation decisions are often need to be made in a more rapid manner so I have to move to more a transformational style. This style allows me to share the vision that we can create and empower faculty to help use get there. I like focusing on big lofty goals so the transformational style is probably what comes most natural to me.
2) Who is your leadership hero and why?
I think this is a tough one. I have learned a lot from different leaders like Judd Hollander and Nathan Kuppermann. Both have very different styles and have been successful in their leadership roles but also their academic roles. Judd has been a motivational leader to me and has really taught me how to elevate others. Nate is a master at time management. He has maintained a productive research career while being a Chair. I think I have learned the importance of work/life balance from both of them.
3) Have you accrued any insights from which other aspiring female leaders might benefit?
I think the hardest thing about transitioning to a leadership role, is redefining professionally what makes you feel successful. I used to be proud of my collaborations and research endeavors. Now I have little time to focus on research so how I define my personal success has to change.