Leadership in Audiology……..It’s The Same Everywhere – Part II

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Robert Traynor
November 1, 2011

The second half in our series of leadership articles by Dr Robert Glaser at Hearing International looks at committment, teamwork, empowerment……and offers a Final Note!  No matter our country, language and culture, Leadership is the same everywhere!


Dg excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership.  The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others.  If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.  Gilbert Amelio, President and CEO, National Semiconductor Corp.

Your communication skills will make you the kind of leader that people will want to follow—or not.  Your message must be clear and well articulated. People will not follow you if they cannot see clearly where you are going and how you intend to get there. Keep your message simple.  Before you can convince others to follow, you have to believe in what you are promoting, what it is that is so important to you that it can readily become important to others.  The goal of all communication is action.  Simply providing information is not enough.

Leaders must provide an incentive to listen, an incentive to remember the importance of the tasks ahead and, most importantly, a plan of action and involvement to reach the desired outcome(s).  At the root of effectiveness is the ability to communicate meaningful information in a clear and concise manner such that all involved in the processes leading to accomplishing the goals know the path even when blindfolded.


Followers expect a leader to face up to tough decisions. When conflict must be resolved, when justice must be defined and carried out, when promises need to be kept, when the organization needs to hear who counts—these are the times when leaders act with ruthless honesty and live up to their covenant with the people they lead.   Max DePree:   Leadership Jazz, 2008

The obligation inherent in assuming positions of leadership requires personal sacrifice.  Consider the many audiologists who have made the commitment to advance their professional acumen by completing their AuD.  They have done so not only at financial expense but also in terms of valuable

time spent away from family and friends.  Consider as well the incalculable hours spent volunteering for professional organizations:  Our colleagues sacrifice their time, talent and personal assets to take on various roles of leadership in our professional organizations.  They are involved because they are committed to their profession, what it stands for, what it does for others and because it is needed to secure our future as important and significant contributors to the health of our nation.


Teamwork makes the dream work.”   John C. Maxwell:   Talent is Never Enough,  2007

Teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect.  It is working toward a common goal that joins
people in an effort that they might never engage in as an individual.  It is an opportunity for growth for all involved—leaders and members of the group as well.  Teamwork is not always as easy as getting a few folks together to solve a problem or change a direction: Teams do not usually come together and develop on their own; they require ardent leadership and cooperation within the group.  Teamwork,
however, is superior to individual effort:

  • Teams involve more people, thus affording more resources, ideas and energy than an individual possesses.
  • Teams maximize a leader’s potential and minimize weaknesses.
  • Teams provide multiple perspectives on how to meet a need or reach a goal, thus devising alternatives for each situation.  Individual insight is seldom as broad and deep as a group’s when it takes on a problem.
  • Teams share the credit for victories and the blame for losses fostering genuine humility and authentic community.  Individuals take credit and blame alone.
  • Teams keep leaders accountable for the goal.  Individuals connected to no one can change the goal without accountability.
  • Teams can simply do more than an individual.


“People under the influence of an empowering person are like paper in the hands of a talented artist.”  John C. Maxwell:   Leadership 101

If you are in a leadership role in an organization, your ability to empower others is not an option unless, of course, you plan on running the entire show alone.  Empowering others is as critical to the success of the organization as it is critical to the success and effectiveness of the leader.

Empowerment has an incredibly high return.  When you empower a person to take on a task, to lead a team or research a topic important to organizational advancement, it not only helps the individuals you raise up by making them more confident, more at ease in making decisions and more productive, it also frees you to actively
promote the growth and health of your organization.
Achievement comes to someone when he is able to do great things for himself.  Success comes when he empowers followers to do great things with him.  Significance comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him.  But a legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do things without him (Dupree,2004).


     Respect for the future, regard for the present, understanding the past.

Leaders are forever moving between the present and the future. Our perception

of each becomes clear and valid if we understand the past.  The future requires our humility in the face of all we cannot control.  The present requires attention to all the people to whom we are accountable.  The past gives us the opportunity to build on the work of our elders (DePree, 2008).

Guest Author:

 Robert G. Glaser, Ph.D. – This and last week’s article was prepared and submitted to Hearing International.  Dr. Glaser knows leadership on a personal level having been the President of the American Academy of Audiology, 1999-2000 and CEO of Audiology Speech Associates of Dayton, Inc, Dayton, Ohio for over 30 years.  He has served on licensure and hospital boards representing Audiology and is a well known leader in our profession.  He is also the Co-Author of Strategic Practice Management, a textbook in Audiology practice management.

Questions and comments for Dr. Glaser’s articles may be directed to Hearing International in our comments sections, we will ensure that your communication is answered. – RMT


DePree, M. (1989 & 2004). Leadership Is an Art. New York: Random House.

DePree, M. (1992 & 2008) Leadership Jazz: The Essential Elements of a Great Leader. New   York:  Random House.

Glaser, R.G. and Traynor, R.M. (2008) Strategic Practice Management.  San Diego:  Plural Publishing.

Glaser, R.G. (2011) “If Not You, Then Who.”  Keynote Presentation: Ohio Academy of Audiology Fifth    Biennial Audiology Conference.  Columbus, Ohio.

Maxwell, J.C. (2002) Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know. Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publications.

Maxwell, J.C. (2007) Talent Is Never Enough.  Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publications.

Maxwell, J.C. (1998 & 2007)  The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publications.

American Academy of Audiology, (2010).  In memoriam:  Dr. Sadanand Singh.

Traynor, R.M and Glaser, R.G (2010) “Positive Emergence:  Optimization Strategies for a
Difficult Economy.  American Academy of Audiology Annual Meeting:  San Diego.

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