NHS organisations are large, complex, in the spotlight and operate around the clock every day. Given the demands on people in management and leadership roles, one would assume that getting the very best from people would be important.
Of course when money is tight and there are a lot of demands on organisations, it is all too easy to view this as an expensive luxury (trust me I have been as guilty as anyone else when reducing expenditure in these areas when I was an FD).
Yet if we think about the equipment, the technology, our approach to cleanliness or patient safety, would we allow this to be anything less than top notch?
On the other hand staff, who ultimately are the group of people who have the greatest impact on a well run organisation are often given little or in the worse case no support to develop and grow.
An article in the Health Service Journal Local Training For Local Leaders highlighted the sobering but not surprising conclusions that leadership development was seen as “stop start”, difficult to access and was often poorly supported.
I know from my own experiences of working with leaders and managers in the NHS, both clinical and non clinical that what is on offer varies significantly. FSD does some great work across the country with Finance staff and there is also some excellent work done by the HFMA.
Let’s consider this a bit further. Staff costs are probably your biggest area of expenditure. If you were making a significant investment in any other area would you not want to make sure you were getting a good return on that investment? The answer is probably yes.
Yet when it comes to staff who can really make the difference, there is sometimes a reluctance to invest time and money in helping people perform well.
And in truth tackling leadership development need not be a huge outlay. The Local Training For Local Leaders article highlighted a handful of top topics that people wanted development in.
- Team leadership and people management skills;
- Influencing and negotiating skills; and
- Managing performance
The list should not be a surprise to anyone. The majority of people are highly skilled in their professional fields and of course need to stay up to date.
The areas where people need help are in the leadership, management, business and interpersonal skills.
There are different ways in which these can be provided. You might offer short workshops. You might offer longer term programmes. You could consider coaching and mentoring. It might be easier to do something remotely through webinars. You could offer people the opportunity to shadow others.
So what are you doing at organisation or health economy level to tackle leadership development? Why not leave a comment detailing what you are doing.
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