“What a fantastic and stimulating learning experience this is going to be,” were the opening remarks from Dr Clare Price-Dowd, Senior Programme Lead at the NHS Leadership Academy.
Clare discussed how the workforce of today was going to meet the challenges of tomorrow, and how effective and adaptive leadership will contribute to the success of the service moving forward.
Clare asked the audience to consider whether they thought that leaders were ‘born’ or whether they are made, and why the healthcare sector should bother to develop leadership capability in the workforce.
“Leadership is a huge topic and absolutely leaders are made and not born.
"I speak to many people who have applied to the Leadership Academy. Often some of these people have been promoted to manager level because they are good at the job they currently do.
"However, in many cases this has not prepared them to lead or prepared them to be good leaders. They ask, ‘what can you do for us?’"
Clare added that leadership development is very much the centre stage of the NHS, and emphasised that leaders need to be everywhere in the service.
“Think about your first role or the first time you came across a role perhaps in an advertisement. You don’t often see ‘leader’ in a job title but that’s usually what it means,” she said.
“With leadership comes great responsibility; understand it and you will achieve more for your team, your patients, your department and your service.”
Clare suggested that the delegates ask themselves: ‘What sort of leader are you? What’s it like being on the receiving end of you?’ explaining that staff can often feel undervalued because of how a manager might project themselves.
“Everyone will experience you differently at any given moment. The old NHS way expected leaders to be pace setters and achievers, now we need adaptive leaders. Think about the best leader you ever had and then consider your own brand.
“Challenge your inner doubt – that little voice inside saying that what you know is quite small. Forget what you think you know and what you think that other people know, because we all know far more than we think we do.
"Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback; it can be helpful to see what others see and assist you to develop your role.”
In her experience, said Clare, you should save up the positive comments and victories: “Remember your plaudits – they will give you a boost when you need it. Think about what you are good at and why you deserve to be in the position that you hold.
"If you do this often enough then your confidence will grow. Understand yourself and be the best that you can be, every day,” concluded Clare.