Putting a framework round leadership in the NHS

I’ve been looking at the NHS Leadership Website .  It is a very interesting site!

It includes the NHS Leadership Framework   which was announced on the 29th June 2011 having been commissioned apparently by the NHS Leadership Council. The framework has the rather super logo shown above.

Development has been informed by analysis of existing NHS leadership data and a review of contemporary leadership literature and best practice.   (I thought most of us stopped using the term “best practice” a while ago opting instead for the more realistic “good practice”. But apparently the NHS is still creating hostages to fortune in flagging up “best practice”.)

The framework sets out a remarkable model for distributed/shared leadership.   It  is made up of seven domains“demonstrating personal qualities”, “working with others” etc. Within each domain there are four categories called elements.  For “demonstrating personal qualities”, for example, these are

  •  Developing Self Awareness
  • Managing Yourself
  • Continuing Personal Development
  • Acting with Integrity

Each of these elements is further divided into four descriptors. The descriptors are statements that describe the leadership behaviours, knowledge, skills or attitudes expected for each element.

In the example above “Developing Self Awareness” has these descriptors

  • Recognise and articulate their own values and principles, understanding how these may differ from those of other individuals and groups
  • Identify their own strengths and limitations, the impact of their behaviour on others, and the effect of stress on their own behaviour
  • Identify their own emotions and prejudices and understand how these can affect their judgment and behaviour
  • Obtain, analyse and act on feedback from a variety of sources.

The framework recognises that the opportunity to demonstrate leadership will differ depending on level and discipline.  The context in which competence can be achieved will become more complex and demanding with career progression.

So there are four stages demonstrated to help staff understand their progression and development as a leaders;  from local team to whole organization.

The NHS Leadership Framework is designed to enable staff to understand their progression as a leader and to support the NHS to foster and develop talent.   It is innovative and, as far as I know, original!  It deserves much wider recognition.

The framework has lots and lots of good things about it but, sadly, and probably,  very realistically, it does seem to have a clear political flavour.   As you read through it you cannot miss the emphasis on managing the NHS’s reputational risk.

For example, I looked at Leadership for Commissioning in which I have an interest and right up there was a course in handling the media with an emphasis on safeguarding the reputation of the NHS.   Sadly, I am sure this reflects the times and something of a siege mentality among NHS top managers.

For all that,  the framework includes lots good stuff too, for example,  it includes the following statement

“Competent leaders:

  • Listen to others and recognise different perspectives
  • Empathise and take into account the needs and feelings of others
  • Communicate effectively with individuals and groups, and act as a positive role model
  • Gain and maintain the trust and support of colleagues!”

This may be a bit of an aspiration, but isn’t this what we want really, not just for the NHS, but for all our leaders?

Anyway follow the links above and have a look at the framework for yourselves.  It would be very good to know what you think.

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those

  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change. I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

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