How to lead your vision with emotional intelligence

Dr. Ronald Cohn, the president and chief executive officer of The Hospital for Sick Children, shares what he has learned about getting people on board with a new vision and leading with openness and empathy.

In this episode, Dr. Ronald Cohn discusses:

  • Why he chose paediatrics (1:02)
  • When he first recognized himself as a leader (2:06)
  • The difference between operational and visionary leaders (03:17)
  • His leadership strengths (04:26)
  • The importance of getting people on board with a new organizational vision (07:41)
  • What he’s doing to get people onside (10:44)
  • Why it’s important for the vision to be supported by people at all levels of the organization (12:52)
  • The importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) for leaders (13:59)
  • How leaders can display EQ with their team (15:16)
  • How to foster autonomy in your employees so they’re comfortable taking initiative (18:26)
  • His top piece of advice for leaders (19:30)
  • The craziest place he’s been to (21:10)

Ronald’s advice for leaders:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge the status quo (02:45)
  • Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses  (03:17)
  • Be humble enough to delegate the work you need help with (06:04)
  • Be empathetic and compassionate (14:33)
  • Never underestimate the value of EQ to build trust, consensus and to motivate (15:52)
  • Provide guidance and empower employees to make decisions (17:50)

More about Dr. Ronald Cohn:

Dr. Ronald Cohn has served as president and chief executive officer of The Hospital for Sick Children since 2019. He initially joined SickKids in 2012 as chief of the Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics, co-director of the Centre for Genetic Medicine, and senior scientist at the SickKids Research Institute. He became chief of Paediatrics at SickKids in 2016, as well as the chair of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, where he was also part of the Department of Molecular Genetics.

Dr. Cohn was the first combined resident in paediatrics and genetics at the Johns Hopkins University, later becoming the director of the world’s first multidisciplinary centre for hypotonia at that university’s McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine. His research focuses on implementing genome-editing technologies for the treatment of neurogenetic disorders, and he has developed an interest in applying a concept of “precision child health” to the care of children – something he has worked to implement at SickKids through the use of cutting-edge technology (such as artificial intelligence, genomics, advanced imaging and innovative procedures).

[Some of Dr. Cohn’s awards include the David M. Kamsler Award for outstanding compassionate and expert care of paediatric patients and the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics Award in Medical Genetics.

Memorable quote:

“Leadership is defined through personality and action, and not necessarily through titles.”