LTL EP 11 Episode

Episode 11 – The Research | Physicians and the Theory of Expert Leadership


Amanda Goodall, PhD, a professor and leadership expert, joins Patty in an animated conversation about her theory of expert leadership. Dr. Goodall explains how her research revealed that top scholars, not general managers, make the best university CEOs and the most effective department leaders. This phenomenon doesn’t just apply to the academic world; the same pattern holds true in sports. And important for the Licensed to Lead audience, her studies point to superior outcomes when healthcare institutions are led by those with the most expertise in the core business, physicians. Tune in as we talk about the technical expertise and deep knowledge of “expert leaders” as well as characteristics of the work environment that they create.

In This Episode: 

  • [01:35] Meet Dr. Amanda Goodall who explains the inspiration behind her leadership research and her Theory of Expert Leadership
  • [06:91] Top scholars make the best university CEOs and heads of departments
  • [13:43] Dr. Goodall’s sentinel research about physician leadership in the healthcare industry
  • [15:40]Hospital quality scores are approximately 25% higher in physician run hospitals
  • [23:26] Impact of physicians and other clinicians on boards of hospitals
  • [26:59] Research across industries that demonstrates the single strongest predictor of job satisfaction is perception of “boss competence”
  • [33:21] How expert leaders influence job satisfaction: Dr. Goodall talks about “umbrella carriers,” expert coaches, and autonomy

Key Takeaways:

  • There are multiple mechanisms by which expert leaders, those with extensive experience in the core business, create better outcomes.
  • Hospitals are ranked higher (U.S. News and World Reports) and have better quality outcomes when led by physician CEOs.

Meet Amanda Goodall

Amanda Goodall, PhD, is an Associate Professor at The Business School (formerly Cass) at City, University of London. Her doctoral research about academic leaders was published as Socrates in the Boardroom: Why Research Universities Should be Led by Top Scholars (Princeton University Press, 2009). She has subsequently studied a variety of industries, from Formula One racing and the NBA to academia and healthcare. Her central argument is that leaders should be highly qualified experts in the core business of the industry they lead.

She is the founder and director of an advanced leadership degree for physicians: Executive Masters in Medical Leadership at The Business School, City, University of London.

Dr. Goodall is widely published and her research and media is available at


Website Amanda Goodall
Twitter @AmandaGoodall1
Physician-Leaders and Hospital Performance: is there an association PDF
PhD thesis summary
Umbrella carriers
If Your Boss Could Do Your Job
Should Doctors Run Hospitals? PDF