Top 6 facts about communication from Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh, a renowned British neurosurgeon, and author of two bestsellers tell us about team communication, the secrets of successful book writing, and the requirements for building a positive image.


Photo: Фокус.ua

Effective team communication depends on its leader

The leader must set an example and create the team’s right atmosphere. However, leadership mustn’t grow into a dictatorship. There are now many books and training on management and leadership. However, in my opinion, being a leader is not just about constantly telling people what to do. Leadership is about giving people opportunities to do better, to help them develop in their positions. For example, in most Ukrainian hospitals, Stalinism and dictatorship prevail. Leadership is helping colleagues. It is about helping, not the dictation of tasks. If people were encouraged more than just criticized, they would do a better job.

I also advise communication outside of work. Go for a discussion in the park or elsewhere to change the usual conditions.

Communication solves many problems

One of the significant problems of Ukrainian medicine is the lack of communication between doctors. This is especially true of radiologists who analyze X-rays and physicians who directly examine patients in clinics. In European and American hospitals, specialists meet at least once a week to discuss the patient’s affairs. This is very lacking in Ukraine.

It is possible to learn to write well

I wrote my books on the advice of my wife. I always had a habit of keeping a diary of everything that happened to me during the day in the hospital. And when my wife asked how my day went, I read her my diary. I think the success of my books depended on several factors. First, I’m a good communicator. I like to describe and explain something. I also have a good education, which allows me to express my thoughts clearly and competently. Another important aspect, I’m sure, is that it’s impossible to write well if you don’t read a lot. I read many books at an early age. This process becomes unconscious: I do not know how the sentences are composed by themselves. And of course, practice is essential. The more you write, the better you do.

Critic is the best helper on the way to a bestseller

There is no perfect book. A critic is essential. If you want to write well, show the text to your friends and colleagues and listen to their criticism. My first manuscript of the book was very thick. After my wife read it, it became thinner. After reading my agent, he became even narrower. When my editor and publisher read the text, it became what it is today. And after each reading, the book became better. Constructive criticism is significant. Maybe some people can write well without it, but I doubt it. My wife (ed. Henry Marsh’s wife – Kate Fox – British anthropologist and writer) has a theory on this topic. She is convinced that if you are a very successful writer and write many books and they get worse over time, the editor has stopped criticizing you.

The secret to a flourishing reputation lies in honesty

It is challenging to psychologically admit your mistakes in public and talk about your worries and anxieties. You have to be confident and assertive about that.

People are usually arrogant. They say, “I’m never wrong.” However, in reality, it is a manifestation of weakness and fear. When you see a doctor, you first want to trust him. And how can you trust a person if he is not honest? As paradoxical as it may sound when a doctor admits that he may make mistakes from time to time, it gives the patient the impression of a more confident person.

Expertise lies in experience

I became a famous public figure almost at the end of my career. Perhaps young doctors who have little experience should not seek popularity. It looks suspicious when a person with little experience in a field tries to look like a great expert in the media environment. Popularity always has challenges. A person can become too arrogant. My wife even jokes that it’s good that I became famous in old age. She is convinced that if this had happened when I was younger, I would have been entirely unbearable.

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