Top Tips for life long leadership
By Pamela Parker, consultant sonographer, Hull University Teaching Hospitals Nhs Trust and president elect, British Medical Ultrasound Society.
When asked to write something about leadership at a national level, I was very flattered; in all honesty I hadn’t considered myself in that role.
I recognise that I have been a leader in many walks of life: a Brownie sixer, a Rainbow guide leader (called Rupert, although why I didn’t choose Yogi is beyond me), the work’s team netball captain, and first at the bar at the BMUS annual scientific meetings, of course. But a national leader sounded far too grand, so I have taken some time out to reflect on this. Is it a befitting title?
Top Tip Number 1 - Know your vision
To make that happen though, I believe you need to have a common goal that the team, including the leader themselves, can buy into. Even in difficult circumstances, having that agreed shared goal and understanding will often produce the results required. In the challenging world of the ever changing NHS it can be difficult to identify and agree that commonality.
Number 2 - Play to your strengths
Number 3 - Remember we are all different but have shared base needs
Number 4 - Share the difficulties
In a managed team there is always that common manager, the person to blame, the person to direct. Leading a team and being a good leader requires the team to know what the mission is, what they are aiming for. The team needs to own the problem and feel and believe they are part of the solution. No one said leadership was easy! Fnd a friend or work buddy to offload to outside of the team.
Number 5 - Take a leap of faith and allow the team to follow
Without doubt we have hit a few rocks, particularly in the early days when their captain wasn’t quite sure how to sail. We took a few wrong turns when the captain disregarded the experienced navigator, and a few storms passed when some of the crew members got cabin fever, but I’d say our destination is very much in sight. This captain now has a fleet of other such boats she is sailing to destinations new.
Number 6 - Talk, listen and communicate
The key skills I needed to get this buy-in were communication, communication, communication. Inspiring your team requires them to understand what is required of them and keeping open lines of communication is essential. Yes, sometimes there are confidential items that cannot be shared, but honesty about this will negate the issues that could arise. Open communication from your team is a necessity, along with a thick skin.
Leading does not always make you popular but being open to critique and questioning garners respect, an essential component of good leadership. Find the time to talk, listen, communicate, and reap the benefits
New teams, new challenges and new goals
Leading my team has been an amazing honour and I do believe we are reaching our goal of being an exemplar department. My time as department lead has come to an end as I start on my own path as a consultant sonographer, but I have passed the helm to a new team of leaders with their own vision and exciting new ventures. My leadership nationally though continues. We must always remember that our team are people all working to provide excellent patient care and with a sense of pride in their role. To lead well is to respect this and enhance the good in all of them.
With that thought I will leave with you with my final top tip: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”