I think everyone who has ever worked in the NHS will acknowledge that being in a leadership role is challenging. At the same time small changes can often make a difference to the results that are achieved.
So what are 10 things in my view that leaders in the NHS can do to be more effective.
- Be clear about what you are trying to achieve. All people like to have an idea on the overall aims and direction of travel. Take the time to get that clarity on what you want to achieve.
- Listen to others ideas. You obviously have your own ideas and perspectives on a particular issue. These ideas and perspectives are based on your own experiences. Yet there are others who have different ideas and perspectives. Be willing to listen more.
- Work on gaining support. You might be the best ideas person around. On the other hand you need to help and support of others to translate the ideas into tangible actions.
- Face up to reality. There will be times when things will be going well and times when you will be under extreme pressure. Be willing to face up to the reality of the situation.
- Embrace the diversity. In the NHS there is huge diversity in skills, experiences and cultures. Rather than viewing as a difficulty be willing to embrace the diversity and use it as a catalyst for performance.
- Give up having to be right. You cannot and don’t need to be the expert on everything. A good leader has the awareness to know what they do well and also where they are not the best.
- Choose initiatives wisely especially those related to change. Sometimes in the desire to be seen to tackling everything we just overload people.
- Stay connected to the point of service delivery. It is all too easy to end up losing sight of what life is like at the point of delivery.
- Encourage and support those who are ready to innovate and those who might be ready to innovate but lack a little bit of confidence.
- Accept that mistakes will be made and create a culture that encourages people to learn from mistakes and use as a basis of improvement.
The truth is leading is really never ending work in progress. So what would be on your list of simple things leaders in the NHS could do to be more effective?
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