Everyone out there working on a ward, in a clinic, in an office, in a surgery, or in the community will know what good leadership in the NHS looks like.
The people who are good leaders are the ones who will be making improvements and getting things done for the better. They’ll have a clear idea of what needs to be done, will have decided how to go about this and will have the right people on board to make it happen.
They’ll go about this with integrity and honesty, and in an open way. They’ll build and maintain relationships, develop networks, encourage others’ contribution and adopt a team approach. They’ll take time to reflect on their behaviour and its effect on others, seek feedback from people they work with and act on it and try to listen more than they talk! And what will happen is that they’ll have a positive effect on those around them. And this can be applied to anyone working at any level of an organisation. A good leader is someone who sets about improving things for staff and patients in a certain way – and gets it done in a certain way.
It might be that you’re a chief executive who has to start a courageous conversation with your staff and patients about something which they might instinctively push against. And you make this happen, whilst coping with the inevitable media interest and public pressure that has always been a fact of life for the NHS whatever the economic or political background of the day.
It might be that you’re an audiologist who believes some patients can be better managed and seen more quickly without having to see a consultant. And you make this happen, despite people coming up with reasons why things should stay as they are.
You might be a manager who has a vision for a governance system which could better protect vulnerable adults from abuse and harm. And you make this happen. Despite needing three organisations to do things differently.
You might be a clinical lead who believes their team are not delivering the outcomes for patients you think they should. You make this happen by changing your approach, introducing an effective appraisal system and empowering your staff to work differently, despite years of doing things in a certain way.
You might be a matron or a divisional nurse manager who knows one ward you oversee is a more pleasant place to work than another; where staff are happier, patients are better cared for and the place smells better. You make this the norm in all the wards you’re responsible for, despite having to tackle some difficult individuals.
You might be a CCG governing body member who knows your voice isn’t being heard at meetings but you have lots of things you want to say. You change things so everyone has an equal voice, despite seeming to be the only one who thinks that needs to happen.
We’ll need people from all parts of the NHS, from all professions, all backgrounds and at all levels to think about what they can do to lead the service through these challenging times. And we need to make sure we’re consistent in our approach to leadership throughout the NHS so we all know what good looks like – and so do our patients.
We have developed the Leadership Framework which does just that, and is being used across all professional groups at all levels in their leadership development. Our Self Assessment Tools also allow individuals to assess and review their own leadership behaviors and competencies. Nearly 30,000 NHS staff have already done this, and so can you. It’s athttp://bit.ly/OCsbwj