Dr. Oz: The best advice I ever got

February 23, 2012: 6:28 AM ET
Dr. Oz:

Dr. Oz: "You had to make everyone feel special."

FORTUNE -- "Keith Reemtsma was chairman of the department of surgery at Columbia University when I came to New York. He had served in Korea, and the lore is that he's the person behind the character Hawkeye in M*A*S*H. He made me chief resident and mentored me on how to be a leader. He said the hard part of leadership was keeping smart people from killing each other -- you had to make everyone feel special. People at my level were ambitious, vying for positions. He'd take your strength and find a place you could emphasize it, so it wouldn't seem as if you were competing directly with one another.

"I use that today. For example, I try to get my producers to excel at different things. I don't want them all trying to make the same thing because it breeds discontent. Instead, I say, 'You're good at weight loss, so be the best producer on getting people to lose weight.' There were also times I had huge ideas, and Keith told me there is a fine difference between vision and hallucination. Other people have to see your vision and get behind it, or you're wasting everyone's time."

Dr. Mehmet Oz

Age: 51

Job Experience: Vice chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University; host of The Dr. Oz Show (co-owned with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo); author and columnist; earned a joint MD and MBA at the University of Pennsylvania.

Claim to Fame: First gained notice doing a heart transplant on Joe Torre's brother Frank in 1996; won two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Talk Show Host; co-author of the bestselling YOU series of health books; dustup with the FDA last year over his investigation into the amount of arsenic (used in pesticides) in apple juice. A Consumer Reports study followed. The FDA is reevaluating acceptable levels of arsenic in juice.

This article is from the February 27, 2012 issue of Fortune. To top of page