Journey of Humility and Leadership (Podcast)

Chair of Physician Leadership expands on why it’s not about you yet it’s all about you

In the new podcast “Beyond Leadership: Dr. Brian Bolwell’s Journey of Humility and Leadership,” Brian Bolwell, MD, speaks with Gina Cronin, Chief Talent Office at Cleveland Clinic, about how he brings together leadership and empathy, learns from every interaction with people and reflects on teaching.

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Dr. Bolwell is Chair of Physician Leadership and Development in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Global Leadership and Learning Institute of Cleveland Clinic. Previously, he was Chair of the Taussig Cancer Center.

In this pilot episode of a new series on leadership, Dr. Bolwell also expands on his go-to principles about leadership:

  • It’s Not About You
  • It’s All About You
  • Focus on What’s Important

Click on the podcast player to listen to this episode now. The Beyond Leadership series can be found at or wherever you get your podcasts. This conversation is among others between Dr. Bolwell and healthcare leaders as well as leaders from other industries.

Podcast excerpt

Dr. Bolwell: The inflection point for me from a leadership perspective was about 17, 18 years ago, when I was on the executive committee of the organization. And we all had a very deep 360, which is, for those of you listening to this who don’t know what a 360 is, basically people who work with you are asked about your leadership style, and your leadership skills, your strengths, your weaknesses. And the 360 that was done at the time for us on the executive committee was a pretty thorough one, in which we all had two different executive development coaches and they did in-person interviews with about 12 stakeholders.

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And then they presented a 25-page report in which they went over my strengths and my weaknesses. And I was assuming that most of the report would talk about my strengths.

And then — boy, was I wrong. I was greeted with a report that devoted about 24 and three quarters pages to my weaknesses and maybe a quarter of a page to my strengths, whatever that strength was. Which was really important for me to hear and was a very important lesson for me to learn.

You can take these things one of two ways. You can kind of deny them and say, well, I’m actually not that bad. Or you can actually internalize it and say, all right, what do I need to do to get better? And I want to get better. I want to be as good a leader as I possibly can be.

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