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  • A Different Kind of Leader

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    By Giselle Corbie, M.D., MSc
    Kenan Distinguished Professor of Social Medicine
    Director, Center for Health Equity Research
    University of North Carolina School of Medicine

    On her podcast Dr. Giselle Corbie shares her passion for learning about different leadership styles. She recently spoke with NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable about what makes a leader great.

    As a female scholar of color, early in my career I often sought out leaders that embodied the characteristics that I hoped to cultivate throughout my career—a different way of leading that harnesses the power of diverse perspectives. More recently, I began reflecting on the early days of my career and wished my younger self had had access to the insights and pieces of wisdom from leaders from diverse backgrounds. While I do not have the ability to time travel, I do have a voice and passion for telling the stories of diverse leaders. It was realizing that there was still a void that those voices could fill that led to the creation of the podcast A Different Kind of Leader. For over two years, four seasons, and 48 episodes, A Different Kind of Leader (DKL) has been dedicated to featuring incredible, diverse leaders and their journeys, insights, and experiences in their personal and leadership journey. In this day and age, the problems that our organizations face are complex, and we benefit from having as many perspectives and voices as possible to help develop the most creative and sustainable solutions.

    When in the production stages for our fourth season, DKL reflected on our lineup, and we could not think of a more perfect addition than Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Pérez-Stable shared his leadership journey from the early days of clinical work to his leadership role at the NIMHD. Throughout the episode, Dr. Pérez-Stable touched on key actions and skills that make an effective leader.

    "I think people need to be humble and not overextend themselves,” he shared, “There’s this balance of listening and trying to make sure you’re addressing all the constituents under your leadership. At the same time, you need to make decisions and exert authority."

    In addition to sharing his personal experience with leadership characteristics, Dr. Pérez-Stable also recommended listeners learn more about themselves and their personality preferences. He mentioned an example through the Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator, a self-reported inventory that helps identify how they perceive the world and make decisions. Through his own results, Dr. Pérez-Stable was better able to understand his preferences as a leader and learn to work more effectively with the range of diverse personalities on his team.

    Throughout the entire episode, Dr. Pérez-Stable shares advice on several leadership aspects and gives words of encouragement to all our listeners. “I like to use this phrase, “Learn how to say yes,” because you never know those yeses are going to lead to real change in your trajectory.” We are so thankful he said yes to share his insight and reflections on the podcast and appreciative of his time to join us for this season of A Different Kind of Leader.