8th March 2013

Emerging Leaders

Working with the NHS North West Leadership Academy (NWLA) Helping to Build Leadership Capability

Introduction

Since early 2013, Impact Consulting Psychologists have been supporting the NHS NWLA “Emerging Leaders” programme designed to equip middle manager participants from Clinical and Managerial backgrounds to develop the knowledge and skills needed to take charge of their own leadership journey and shape their own career in the NHS. The programme consists of 7 learning days, each day based on a domain of the NHS Leadership Framework. Impact Consulting successfully won a tender to design and deliver workshops to support domains 5 and 6 – namely; the importance for Leaders to Set Direction and Create a Vision for their organisation and team.

To date, the workshops have been delivered to over 70 people within 3 geographical cohorts. The workshop design has enabled leaders to reflect on academic theory for each topic, discuss their own problems and challenges with colleagues and identify options to do things differently in order to help them become more effective leaders within their respective organisations.

What is it like to lead within the NHS?

Leaders across all parts of the NHS are facing unprecedented levels of change. The NHS structure and landscape is changing radically in April 2013. Therefore, the need for financial efficiency in times of austerity, coupled with the need to deliver safe and positive outcomes for patients is in the spotlight as lessons are learned from the problems experienced in Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. (Click here to view our initial thoughts on the Francis II Report)

How have the workshops helped?

Given this working environment, leaders at all levels must play their part in achieving a transformational change across the system. To support leaders in developing their knowledge and skills to facilitate this, Impact Consulting have designed workshops to engage them in exploring the themes below:

•Communicating compelling reasons for change, tapping into all four energies of leadership to motivate and inspire their teams to consider new ways of working.

•Practical steps to influence others to work in partnership with them to deliver a common goal. In particular, how to build more effective working relationships through recognising and overcoming the system related barriers to success.

•Engagement of and consultation with their team and peers.

•Recognising what is different about transformational change and what levers and tools are available to lead people effectively through change while being able to evaluate progress.

•Creating a clear vision; what a vision statement should include and how they will know they have been successful.

•How to communicate and engage with the wider organisation to ensure they are motivated to follow the leader on their journey.

•Identifying how a better understanding of applying Organisational Development techniques can make a significant difference to achievement of performance goals. Having a solid vision is a critical foundation to driving the results and behaviours that they want to achieve.

What difference have the workshops made so far?

Although the work with NWLA is on-going until May 2013, participants are already talking in networking and plenary sessions about the changes they are introducing back at work; in particular, how they are changing behaviour and making improvements for their people and patients.

Those on the programme have valued the focus on the part that ‘culture’ plays in determining how well success is achieved in everything that a leader does. The Francis II report and recommendations place a big onus on everyone in the NHS to take personal responsibility for implementing lessons learned. Providing leaders with academic theory, practical tools and models in conjunction with the space to reflect about their own situation has really helped leaders to identify the differences they can make.

Leaders now have a better understanding of what culture change means along with the tangible things that when addressed, will change culture over time. Most importantly people have identified personal actions to implement in order to make a difference to their own personal situation and start to change the culture for the benefit of their employees and patients.

Conclusion

Feedback following the workshops has been excellent and demonstrates that people have developed a greater awareness of their leadership role. Additionally, there is an appreciation of valuing networking opportunities with colleagues elsewhere in the NHS system along with the identification of practical options with the aim of tackling situations faced back at work.

Not only have participants of the programme broadened their leadership knowledge, they have also applied this understanding back at work to introduce more efficient processes, engage their teams about why change is necessary and influenced new ways of working that will help to shape the future culture of their part of the NHS.

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