Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 3 — Soft Skills & Leadership

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 3 — Soft Skills & Leadership

Today we have the third post in a three-part series from our regular contributor, Lindsey Harper Mac. Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree. You can find links to some of her earlier posts at the end of the article and you can find the first post in this series at http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/12/31/leadership-in-the-medical-field-series-part-1-what-it-is-why-its-critical/, the second post is at http://wisewolftalking.com/2013/01/07/leadership-in-the-medical-field-series-part-2-how-is-it-demonstrated/

In Part I of this three-article series, we introduced the concept of leadership in the medical field and explained how critically important the ability is for healthcare providers to demonstrate. The strong and unmistakable correlation between effective leadership in the medical field and the subsequent quality of patient care and satisfactory outcomes was established. That aspect of quality leadership’s immediate impact on patient care was used to justify educating all levels of healthcare personnel, from students in a medical assistant program to those in their first year of their internship. The diagrammatic tool developed by the NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement and the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (ARMC) was introduced as a tool to help professionals self-evaluate their leadership skills and identify any areas of weakness that might require attention. This visual tool, deemed The Medical Leadership Competency Framework, was described in brief detail. Now, in Part 2 of this series, we’ll turn our attention to a single wedge of the pie, “Demonstrating Personal Qualities” necessary to be an effective and capable medical leader.

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series of articles, we’ve defined the concept of leadership in the medical field and why it is particularly important as it directly impacts quality of patient care. Because leadership has such a pronounced and direct correlation with patient care and shared leadership is even more beneficial than regular good leadership, this skill is one that needs to be taught at all levels of health care, from the students of a medical assistant program to postdoctoral attending neurosurgeons. We reviewed the the NHS and the AMRC’s Medical Leadership Competency Framework notated diagram, developed to help health care workers self-assess their leadership abilities when divided into five categories:

· Demonstrating personal qualities.

· Working with others.

· Managing services.

· Improving services.

· Setting direction.

In Part 2 of this series we reviewed the components of the leadership aspect “Demonstrating Personal Qualities” which included:

· Developing self-awareness.

· Managing yourself effectively.

· Continuing personal development.

· Acting with integrity.

Social Qualities for Medical Leadership

Part 3 and the final article of this series will review some of the social qualities necessary for medical leadership. Although sometimes referred to as “soft skills,” they are far from easy to acquire and practice with finesse. Yet they are integral to providing quality health care to a population that rises daily with unfilled openings for their providers. These social skills are virtually identical to those identified by Dr. Len Sperry’s work, “Becoming An Effective Health Care Manager: The Essential Skills of Leadership,” so we can assume that the social leadership skills necessary in Great Britain and the United States—despite the different medical systems each offers—are approximate.

 4 Aspects of Medical Leadership in Social Qualities

According to the NHS and ARMC’sMedical Leadership Competency Framework tool, there are four fundamental social quality aspects necessary for healthcare workers to demonstrate in order to be considered effective leaders. These aspects are:

· Developing Networks

As the Competency Framework wisely points out, developing networks means more than just meeting more of the same type of people. Rather, real networks break out of established habits to facilitate collaboration across an entire team of caretakers, regardless of the initials after their names.

· Building and Maintaining Networks

This action speaks more to treating one’s colleagues and team members with respect than it does slapping backs and shaking hands. Real network maintenance requires respect and communication.

· Encouraging Contribution

By demonstrating the respect suggested above, communication and contribution from all team members is facilitated.

· Working Within Teams

Far too many individuals misunderstand “teamwork” and “leadership” as the leader directing the team’s tasks. The real challenge of effective socially grounded leadership is the ability to work within a team as you encourage contribution and communication.

Conclusions Regarding Personal Characteristics of Leadership

As concluded time and again through repeated research, shared leadership provides the highest quality of health care. Our American health care system faces enormous changes over the next decade. A tidal wave of demographic change is already upon us, as the Baby Boomers grow older with better health care and medications. The nursing shortage remains, however, a tremendous issue as health care facilities rush to train paraprofessionals to help supplement nursing care.

Further, the Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010 by President Obama is designed to do nothing less than overhaul the entire health system with major changes to take place each year, over a decade’s time. The National Center for Health Care Leaderships emphasizes that the current health care providers who want to survive the upcoming changes secondary to the ACA must plan now for that change with effective leadership.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Also by Lindsey Harper Mac

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 2—How Is It Demonstrated?

 

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 1—What It Is & Why It’s Critical

Career Development Part 1 – Why Get An Advanced Degree? The Answer is Obvious

Career Development Part 2: Want a Promotion? Focus on Factors Within your Control

Career Development Part 3: Performance Reviews: Painful or Helpful?

Entrepreneurs Growing Forward

Why “be the best” when you could be the one making the rules? | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

The Makings of a Great Leader | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

 

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 2—How Is It Demonstrated?

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 2—How Is It Demonstrated?

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 2—How Is It Demonstrated?

Today we have the second  post in a three-part series from our regular contributor, Lindsey Harper Mac. Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree. You can find links to some of her earlier posts at the end of the article and you can find the first post in this series at http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/12/31/leadership-in-the-medical-field-series-part-1-what-it-is-why-its-critical/

In Part I of this three-article series, we introduced the concept of leadership in the medical field and explained how critically important the ability is for healthcare providers to demonstrate. The strong and unmistakable correlation between effective leadership in the medical field and the subsequent quality of patient care and satisfactory outcomes was established. That aspect of quality leadership’s immediate impact on patient care was used to justify educating all levels of healthcare personnel, from students in a medical assistant program to those in their first year of their internship. The diagrammatic tool developed by the NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement and the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (ARMC) was introduced as a tool to help professionals self-evaluate their leadership skills and identify any areas of weakness that might require attention. This visual tool, deemed The Medical Leadership Competency Framework, was described in brief detail. Now, in Part 2 of this series, we’ll turn our attention to a single wedge of the pie, “Demonstrating Personal Qualities” necessary to be an effective and capable medical leader.

Personal Qualities for Medical Leadership

According to the NHS and ARMC’s Medical Leadership Competency Framework tool, there are four fundamental character aspects necessary for healthcare workers to demonstrate in order to be considered effective leaders. These aspects are:

  • Developing self-awareness.
  • Managing yourself effectively.
  • Continuing personal development.
  • Acting with integrity.

The four identified characteristics correspond very closely to the second of three key skill sets for an effective healthcare manager, as identified by Dr. Len Sperry’s textbook “Becoming An Effective Health Care Manager: The Essential Skills of Leadership.” We can thus dismiss any objections that the Medical Leadership Competency Framework is applicable only to the U.K.’s socialized medicine standard as opposed to the U.S. model.

Developing Self Awareness

This aspect of leadership seems hardly worth mentioning, until one considers the usual negative effects of a self-absorbed or socially incompetent manager has on a department. Although self-awareness is partly an aspect of maturity, it is also one that can be accelerated with various “reflective practices.” The goal is to perceive one’s own “values, principles, and assumptions” and understand the influence this has on decisions and behaviors.

Managing Yourself Effectively

Translated across the Atlantic, this subtitle speaks to a leader’s ability to demonstrate excellent time management skills, efficiency and establish and maintain both short and long-term goals. This information then needs to be clearly and regularly shared with the team a leader manages.

Continuing Personal Development

Never stop learning might be an alternate subtitle for this suggestion. Aspects of leadership can be taught and learned, either formally or informally. Whether one takes a class or adopts an informal mentor, there is always something to learn that will, in turn, improve your leadership abilities.

Acting with Integrity

Acting with integrity is expressed in Green and Gell’s article as being a role model worthy of your subordinate’s imitation. It also speaks to a type of direct communication that precludes passive-aggressive behavior, innuendo or purposely-misleading statements.

Conclusions Regarding Personal Characteristics of Leadership

As Green and Gell, authors of the article for BMJ Career’s website, “Effective Medical Leadership for Consultants: Personal Qualities and Working with Others,” emphasize, “Research has shown that, within healthcare, shared leadership delivers the best results through a shared sense of responsibility for the success of the organization and the quality of the services provided.” This type of personal and shared leadership will be particularly necessary for those health care organizations experiencing disruptions from mandated changes of the Affordable Care Act.

In the third and final article in this series, we’ll discuss how the above personality traits can be used to effectively communicate with others and to ultimately cultivate and develop a successful career in the medical field.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Also by Lindsey Harper Mac

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 1—What It Is & Why It’s Critical

Career Development Part 1 – Why Get An Advanced Degree? The Answer is Obvious

Career Development Part 2: Want a Promotion? Focus on Factors Within your Control

Career Development Part 3: Performance Reviews: Painful or Helpful?

Entrepreneurs Growing Forward

Why “be the best” when you could be the one making the rules? | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

The Makings of a Great Leader | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 1—What It Is & Why It's Critical

Medical Leadership – What and Why

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 1 —What It Is & Why It’s Critical

Today we have the first post in a three-part series from our regular contributor, Lindsey Harper Mac. Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree. You can find links to some of her earlier posts at the end of the article.

Leadership in the medical and healthcare field is a critically important subject. It is important for healthcare personnel, those interested in the field and the public to examine at some length. Leadership determines the quality of healthcare provided to patients even during periods of relative stasis. Thus, the topic needs to be provided to all healthcare provider students. That is from those currently completing a medical assistant program to postdoctoral physician fellows. Further, the authority provided by effective leadership helps maintain measured calm. That is through the upcoming periods of change scheduled to take place in the US through 2020 according to the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Through this series of three articles, we plan to examine what’s meant by the term “medical leadership.” We will discuss why it’s so important to both professionals in the field and patients. What personal attributes are required to be an effective leader. Also the means by which effective leaders work with other healthcare providers.

What is Effective Medical Leadership?

Effective medical leadership is more than the ability to bark out instructions and orders for subordinates to follow and complete. Rather, as Matt Green and Lynne Gell indicate in their recent article for BMJ Career’s website, “Effective Medical Leadership for Consultants: Personal Qualities and Working with Others,” the term is best defined through a theoretical framework that includes the many qualities required of the term and the interactive ways in which it’s demonstrated. As O*Net Online indicates—for a representative healthcare position, a registered nurse (RN)—leadership in the healthcare field also includes aspects of “strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling…. and coordination of people and resources.”

The Medical Leadership Competency Framework

In order to illustrate the qualities, types of qualities and the means of demonstrating leadership, the National Health Service (NHS) Institute for Innovation & Improvement and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges together developed the Medical Leadership Competency Framework  annotated diagram above. This figure allows physicians and other healthcare workers to visually review the different aspects of medical leadership. They can self-assess themselves as to areas that might require improvement or training. The diagram is in the shape of a circle to represent the holistic ideal of quality of medicine. Within the circle’s core is the ultimate goal, “Delivering the Service.” The center of the circle opens to the outside via five separate lanes. These effectively divide the outer aspect of the framework’s circle into five wedge-like areas that represent the ways in which leadership is demonstrated:

  • Demonstrating personal qualities.
  • Working with others.
  • Managing services.
  • Improving services.
  • Setting direction.

Each of these wedge-like areas is further comprised of four primary characteristics. These indicate how leadership in that particular area is best demonstrated. In Part II and Part III of this article series, we’ll explore what the four primary characteristics are for two of the areas “demonstrating personal qualities” and “working with others.”

Why is Effective Medical Leadership Deemed “Critical?”

As Green and Gel summarized in their paper cited earlier, the connection between effective medical leadership and good medical care is “well documented” and the “key to delivery high quality care and a positive experience for patients.” In part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss further the specific personal qualities that make a good leader in the medical field.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Also by Lindsey Harper Mac

Career Development Part 1 – Why Get An Advanced Degree? The Answer is Obvious

Career Development Part 2: Want a Promotion? Focus on Factors Within your Control

Career Development Part 3: Performance Reviews: Painful or Helpful?

Entrepreneurs Growing Forward

Why “be the best” when you could be the one making the rules? | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

The Makings of a Great Leader | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

 

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. 

Related articles

  • Becoming a Leader – Managing Your Own Energy (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Are you a good leader? Time for a Mini- Stocktake! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Becoming a Leader Today – Manifesto for a Servant Leader (wisewolftalking.com)

Leading Change – lessons from the NHS – making sure your change is properly embedded!

The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall
The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve worked on a lot of business change programs.  But when I first started working on them that was not what they were called; around the NHS, we had lots of “reorganizations”!

The longest period of my career was spent with the UK Department of Health.  Not long after I started, the Government initiated a major re-organization of the NHS – the one that led to the first appearance of “Area Health Authorities”, if I remember it correctly.  Not long after the start of the program, victory was declared and the change was regarded as complete.

But, of course, it wasn’t complete – the change was not embedded; things started to go wrong!

Guess what? We had a further reorganization to put things right.  And, of course, victory was acclaimed again.  And again, things went wrong.

So, it became a repetitive cycle, as governments of different political colors learned the hard way that changing the NHS just ain’t easy!  It really doesn’t do a great deal for your political career and, hard as you try to, you can’t de-politicize it and give all the risk to someone else.  But that doesn’t stop the brave cavaliers in each government trying again, does it?

I spent too long as a Civil Servant to now indulge in Party Politics.  Enough to say, that it was watching those repeated failures that got me interested in large scale change in the first place.

What seemed rather grotesquely obvious to me (ex-nurse and, oh, too many years in the Department), was that none of these changes was allowed time to truly embed!

Politicians live within the election cycle – democracy in action.  Their Political survival requires quick results to convince voters.

Unfortunately, large and complex and very organizations (like the NHS), can’t be turned round quickly.  Behavior takes time to change and culture usually lags long behind behavior.

Most of us don’t have anything as complex as the NHS to change.

But we do need to make our own changes stick/embed (Kotter Stage Eight).  We need to make the change become part of the core of the organization!

What can you do to help this along?

Well you need to make efforts continuously to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your organization. This will help give that change a solid place in your organization’s culture.

It’s also important that your company’s leaders continue to support the change. This includes existing staff and any new leaders who are brought in. If you lose the support of these people, you could end up back where you started.

What else can you do?

  • Continue to talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear. Give everyone a clear picture! But DON’T talk about the change being “over”.  If you do that, some people will just sigh a sigh of relief and revert to the previous state.
  • Include the ideals and values of the change in every new corporate event.
  • Remember those ideals and values when hiring and training new staff or making deals with new contractors.
  • Publicly recognize the achievement so far.  Make much of those who have worked so hard to get you this far!
  • Recognize and reward publicly those who truly demonstrate the change in their behavior – even if that recognition has to be quite modest in the present climate
  • Don’t throw up your hands and declare a failure just because the outcome isn’t perfect – no change is perfect – good enough is what it needs to be..
  • Create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on. This will help ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten.

I would love to hear about your own experience of large scale change. As for the NHS, well it belongs to all of us in the UK and everyone of us has a view – talk about Soccer Mums!

Kotter Reading List for you;

Related articles

  • Leading Change and the virtue of patience (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – dealing with fears and facing up to resistance(wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – get your vision into people’s minds and keep it there!(wisewolftalking.com)

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 or

Your Help Needed – New Blog – Leaving the Public Sector

I’ve been blogging here at Wisewolf Talking for the last couple of years!  Now I’ve decided to add another blog to the Wisewolf family – Leaving the Public Sector – and I’m seeking your help.

Following the 2010 UK Government Spending Review it was revealed that between them UK Government departments were expected to shed over 100,000 civil service posts as part of their efforts to reduce administration costs.

The UK Government’s cull of quangos, in which 192 public bodies are to be abolished and a further 112 will be merged, will also contribute to an overall headcount loss in the civil service.

In addition vast numbers of posts are likely to be lost from the wider public sector – Local Authorities, the NHS, the BBC etc.

Many public servants have already been invited to consider taking voluntary redundancy, and many more will be invited to do so as reorganisation plans begin to take shape.

Compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out.

For many public servants this is a time to consider the future and the challenge it presents.

Four years ago I was facing the same challenge.  I left the Civil Service in May 2007 and despite the changing economic climate I have not had one moment of regret!

Since then, as a coach, I have worked with a number of other people leaving public service.

So I’ve decided to start this new blog to share learning and to help people leaving make the most the time ahead. The aim is to;

  • Give them honest advice about the realities of life outside
  • Support them in making their plans
  • Help them carry their plan through!

It will also be a place for people to express their views, if they wish, in the form of comments and to ask questions!

I will welcome contributions from those with experience of leaving, or supporting people leaving, the public sector.

I would be really grateful for your help.  Would you please pass the word on about Leaving the Public Sector to anyone you think might find it helpful!

Also I would love to hear from people who might  be interested in writing for it or sponsoring it!

I am sure this is worthwhile exercise: helping people make the most of their lives has got to be a good thing to do!

Please pass the word on!

Wendy Mason is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her atwendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439