What sort of leaders does the NHS need?

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As part of the Academy’s two year story, we have asked a range of people from across health and social care to share their own stories and experiences of what leadership means to them.

Fran Tummey
Fran Tummey

I have just completed the first part of a leadership course with the NHS Leadership Academy.

What sort of leaders does the NHS need, is the question which continually prompts thought and discussion as I progress along my course. My course colleagues and I have been referred to as the ‘restless innovators’, how does that come across to others, what does a restless innovator look like and behave like? I have become preoccupied with watching people, a rather addictive pastime.

But not just anybody; people who are held up as leaders. I have a mental list of what I like and what I don’t like.

I started my own leadership journey several years ago mainly because of my subconscious ‘don’t like’ list, when I saw that change was needed, I would feel frustrated by people who I assumed were in positions of influence not grasping the mantle or being brave (there’s two for my like list). Leadership can be shown in many ways and I believe it is flexible and can be used positively or negatively.

To really implement positive change then, the leadership mantle can be held by anyone regardless of their ‘band’, standing or status. It’s about the right person for the job and the individual’s ability to be adaptable and inclusive and to show passion for the change they are implementing. There is nothing more appealing than watching or hearing someone express hunger for their campaign. I don’t think the restless innovators just sit in my cohort, I think they are in many places, so look out for them; start people watching or innovator spotting and when you find them encourage them to pursue their passion and support their campaign.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek” – Barack Obama