Feature Christmas 2017: The lives of doctors

10 Minute consultation: Mastering management language syndrome

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5661 (Published 13 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5661
  1. David R Warriner, cardiology registrar and former National Medical Director’s leadership and management fellow1,
  2. Victoria Twigg, ENT registrar and former National Medical Director’s leadership and management fellow2,
  3. Lucy K Flanders, respiratory registrar and National Medical Director’s leadership and management fellow3,
  4. Edward P Gaynor, paediatric gastroenterology registrar and National Medical Director’s leadership and management fellow4
  1. 1Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK
  2. 2Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
  3. 3Epsom General Hospital, Epsom KT18 7EG, UK
  4. 4Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London SW10 9NH, UK
  1. Correspondence to: D Warriner david.warriner{at}nhs.net

What you need to know

  • The incidence of management language syndrome is rising and is thought to be associated with increasing leadership and management training among healthcare staff

  • Diagnosis is essential to prevent aloofness, communication difficulties, and an undue focus on “key performance indicators”

  • A structured approach can aid early identification of this debilitating disorder and prevent potentially permanent performance paralysis

A 51 year old hospital doctor has been referred to your occupational health clinic. Since a service reorganisation within his local hospital trust, he has been uttering strings of unintelligible jargon such as “paradigm shift,” “granularity,” and “solution focused” punctuated by three letter acronyms such as CCGs, STPs, and ACOs and ending discussions with “What does good look like?”

A diagnosis of management language syndrome (MLS) …

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