Leadership development should be for all in health and care
Source: NHE Nov/Dec 16
Back in August, Stephen Hart joined Health Education England (HEE) as the organisation’s new director of leadership development, which includes taking charge of the work of the NHS Leadership Academy. He talks to NHE’s David Stevenson about his plans for the future.
Leadership development should be made available to every part of the health and care system, according to HEE’s new director of leadership development.
Speaking to NHE after two months in post, Stephen Hart said that one of the key developments he hopes to make is that “leadership development is something that is done in all parts of the system, not just in the big acute part where there are traditional hierarchies within which we can work comfortably”.
Hart, who had a long career in the Royal Marines where he worked as a leadership practitioner in operational roles around the world, added that as the NHS Leadership Academy has become part of HEE – following a recommendation by Lord Rose last year – the organisation has entered the next phase of development.
Addressing leadership challenges
As part of this evolution, he said the Academy would be further identifying the challenges of leadership across the system. “You can probably describe them as coming across behaviours, culture and numbers,” he explained. “In terms of behaviours, there are some colleagues who need some support in making sure that care and compassion lie at the heart of our behaviours.
“That is not just a question of bringing people onto programmes in a local leadership academy or in Leeds. If we just bring people onto programmes we will not be addressing the culture.
“I think there is a whole amount of work for us to do, as the Academy, to support leaders in place to go out and work with the system to understand, at a local level, what support they need and how we can leverage in our own faculty and our understanding. It is about having the right people with the right knowledge, skills and attitude in the right jobs.”
Hart added that integrating talent management into leadership development within the sector is a real opportunity for the Academy going forward, as it will give local health economies the ability to identify colleagues who are in the right place to benefit from development opportunities.
Earlier this year it was identified that the average tenure of a trust CEO is approximately two years, a record that Hart wants to remedy. “We have created a system and culture whereby CEOs have a tenure of two years; I do not think it is the right way to progress as a service,” he said. “How we support and develop CEOs, and indeed those that are regulating and supporting those key individuals, is crucial.”
In conjunction with NHS Providers, the Leadership Academy is working on an aspiring CEOs programme to ensure candidates have the “right support and mentoring to be a success in their roles”.
But he added that the provider sector is only one part of the service.
“The other part of our service, which it is absolutely key for the Academy to reach out to is primary care, public health, local government, the full range of our system that provide health and care,” said Hart.
STP opportunities in a landscape of ‘no positional power’
Discussing the changing landscape in health and social care, especially with the advent of the STP footprints, Hart said: “We have connected with every single one of the STPs to offer them a suite of development opportunities that they can engage with.
“That is about harnessing the local health economies and the representatives of those local health economy STPs to identify what their needs are, so that the Academy can orientate itself and provide the bespoke support that is needed to support the unique challenges that face every one of the footprints. It is something that we are taking forward.”
Hart added that the new way of integrated working is about “leading in a way where there isn’t positional power”.
“It isn’t about one individual at the top who is able to exercise power through a joined-up system,” he explained. “It is about giving and supporting individuals at every level the opportunity to develop the right knowledge, skills, and behaviours to work across the system where there isn’t positional power, but where we know that if we identify the synergies and work together we will identify much better and efficient working practice.”
Although noting that long-term leadership development can be challenging, because it requires both financial and time resource, Hart is confident that those involved in the STP process understand its importance and are committed to the principle.
“I think our colleagues in STPs know the importance of leadership development and, as these groups become more mature, we will be able to work with them in a comprehensive way across all levels to deliver the leadership development that we know works and is evidenced to work,” he told NHE, adding that the Academy will also be refreshing its offer.
Clearer and more coherent offering
As well as continuing to provide individual and group development opportunities, which the Academy has become widely respected for since its genesis in 2012, Hart added that the organisation will be engaging with organisations at a local level, “working to build the type of management systems and processes” so that the right cohorts of people are coming onto the programmes.
“There will also be a more coherent offer,” he said. “The offer from our local leadership academies will become more coherent and consistent, so that the leadership development opportunities in one part of the country are matched by the development opportunities available in another.
“It will also be pushed out to all parts of the system be it primary care, mental health trusts or into the smaller parts of the economy where money is even scarcer, to make sure we have outstanding leadership everywhere across the service.”
The Academy will also be developing a commission focusing on leadership and inclusion. “That will look to identify how it is that we are going to change leadership behaviours such that inclusion sits at the heart of being a leader in health and care,” said Hart. “I think that is a really important piece of work.”
According to Hart, the commission’s work will be mentioned in the upcoming National Leadership Strategic Framework. The King’s Fund’s Professor Michael White, who has been developing the framework, writes about the importance of inclusion and compassion in leadership on page 38.
“The commission is going to be action research,” added Hart. “It is about going out into the system and finding out what works, what delivers best practice and then looking to blow oxygen on that and roll it out across the system.”
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