Project management leadership styles can be beneficial to recovering cancer patients.  As a cancer survivor, it can be difficult to reassemble your life.  Things that seemed important in the past may now lack relevance as it is put in perspective.  A lot can be learned from battling cancer.  Cancer patients want to lead a life of relevance upon their return to everyday life.

When you are diagnosed with cancer, there are different leadership styles that doctors may employ during your treatment.  For the doctor, your care and health outcome is their project.  They want to provide you with the best treatment they can to achieve a positive result.

Project Management Leadership Styles

Affiliate Leader

The doctor will attempt to sway you through establishing an emotional connection.  Using this emotional connection, the doctor will connect with you on a more meaningful level.  Cancer already has an emotional connection that can be leveraged especially during the diagnosis stage.

In my case, the doctor I met with had just returned from battling his own cancer.  This experience allowed him to build a bond with me quickly.  He spoke of his experience and described what the treatment process may be like.

Authoritative Leader
Project Management Leadership Styles
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Oncologists gain positional power because of their specialization.  This specialization allows them to possess authority when it comes to your care.

An authoritative leader focuses their energy on the ends justifying the means.  Treating cancer goes against the Hippocratic oath.  The Hippocratic oath states that doctor will do no harm.  Unfortunately, for treatment to work the doctor must offer medicine and other forms of treatment that are designed to kill cells in the body.

Bureaucratic Leadership

Leaders take the time to understand the rules and adhere to them at all turns.  They have the expectation that others will also follow the rules closely.

Some forms of cancer treatment are very prescribed.  When it came to treating my testicular cancer, there were clear rules for the doctor to follow to arrive at a positive outcome.

From the onset, the doctor laid out the treatment routine.  He said the process was very clear as to what and when treatment would be offered.

I got very sick toward the end of my chemotherapy treatment.  To the point, where it was necessary to skip a day.  The doctor was adamant that the treatment had to be completed according to the rules of treatment.

Coercive Leadership

This project management leadership style begins with the leader forming an outline for the project and having direct involvement until the end.  Others individuals involved in the scope of the project have little to no input.  This style closely resembles a dictatorship.

This is a leadership style that depends on the doctor as well as the type of cancer and related health concerns.

Some doctors may want to have more control over the treatment process directly.  Doctors who have a desire to be highly involved managing the process in its entirety are more likely to be coercive.  While other doctors may practice team-based medicine which can be more democratic.

Democratic Leadership

The role of this project manager is usually behind the scenes.  Instead, the leader relies on agreed input from others.  Together, the team tackles the project collectively or democratically.  Teams using a democratic style would frequently search for a consensus or agreement between the parties involved.

Laissez-faire Leadership

This style of leadership offers members the chance to perform their work freely and work to their own deadlines.  Doctors make resources available as necessary and do what they can to support the patient.  The doctor has the ability to decipher when to enter the picture and get involved and when they can stand by.

This type of leadership plays a role in deciding when to start the treatment.  Typically when cancer is diagnosed, things move very quickly.  However, other types of cancer have more time before cancer is required.

For example, I was allowed to initiate treatment quickly, or I could delay.  I was even told that some patients with this type of cancer do so after the hunting season is complete.

The decision to receive treatment was at the whim of the patient.

Servant Leadership

Doctors serve and respond to the needs of their patients are said to be servant leaders.  The key to the actions of these types of leaders is their beliefs, values, and ethics.

The doctor understands that they need to be available to answer questions as necessary.  They need to be “on call” because the needs of the cancer patients are constantly changing on a daily basis.

Sometimes patients require additional prescriptions for their ailments.  Doctors need to respond and serve their patients by writing these prescriptions and making medications available.

Understanding project management leadership styles can be helpful to understand the why and how behind the actions of doctors.  At different times, different project management leadership styles are more appropriate than others.  By taking the time to learn about leadership, the patient can build greater trust with their doctor during treatment.