“Leadership can be defined in two broad categories: what you have to be to yourself and what you have to be to others,” said Harry Orf, MGH senior vice president for Research at the MGH, during the June 7 MGH Leadership Academy Spring Lecture. The retired colonel – whose 34-year military career in the U.S. Army Reserves included a year-long deployment with the 804th Medical Brigade during Operation Iraqi Freedom – was the featured speaker at the 10th annual event. Orf shared how his expertise has been enhanced by training in both the military and academic medicine fields.

In his 90-minute presentation, “What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? Leadership Lessons from Military Medical Service in War,” Orf offered insight into the importance of creating and maintaining strong leaders. “Every soldier has to be trained to be a leader – that’s the Army philosophy of leadership – and they drill this into you.”

Orf said MGH staff are able to enhance their skills and leadership potential in a variety of ways, including numerous communication, people management and process improvement courses, available to managers and supervisors through the MGH Leadership Academy. Courses in the Army are not voluntary if you want to advance, he said, noting courses also are not subject-specific; they are job-specific with the singular goal of training a person for the next job or rank. They also aren’t lecture-based. Instead, learning opportunities focus on project-based, practical knowledge.


“The way the Army trains you? By doing,” Orf said.

During his time in the service, Orf was asked to create his personal leadership vision, which he shared with those in attendance. “In order to accomplish the mission or solve a problem, a leader has to be a student, analyst and organizer who uses their skills to develop a vision. Then, the teacher, manager and motivator instill the vision needed to realize the mission – which is ultimately success.” Orf encouraged participants to use the circle of senior leadership attributes to continually evaluate themselves and continue to grow and learn.

“Whether you work for the Army or for the hospital, whether you are a grant administrator or a middle school teacher and part-time reserve soldier – whatever your job, if you are properly trained in leadership skills and work together with like-minded individuals, there is truly no limit to what you can accomplish.”

Read more articles from the 06/23/17 Hotline issue.