Posts Tagged 'Authentic'

CQC – Safety is in the hands of real leaders!

Mike Attwood has spent 26 years as an NHS Leader and is an accredited coach and editorial advisor for the Journals of Integrated Care and International Leadership in Public Services. He is also a member of the LeaderShape NHS specialist faculty.

He responds to the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report here:
imagesThe CQC report shows safety is still a major concern with 13% of hospitals, 10% of adult social care services and 6% of GP services rated as inadequate.

Importantly, the body identifies a need for creative, selfless leadership (rather than more technical expertise and knowledge-based solutions) and outlines three key factors that play a critical role in shaping quality services:-

1) Engaged leaders building a shared ownership of quality and safety

2) Staff planning that goes beyond simple numbers

3) Working together to address cross-sector priorities

The report places a major focus on the culture of engagement that leaders need to create far more than it stresses the formal governance processes to underpin systemic, high quality care – vital though those are, of course. This aligns with LeaderShape’s long held belief that great leaders reach out selflessly beyond their own expertise and egos to acknowledge fears and uncertainty (particularly facing today’s public services.) Leaders act as catalysts to harness the creativity and new ideas that intractable environments desperately need, to break out of the old controlling, failure-based action plans.

NHS “turnaround” regimes have been alive – but not well – since at least 2000, under many different guises. The response to CQC inadequate ratings needs a new, engaging, collaborative approach – local organisations must work together locally and the “centre” itself should seek to move beyond its critical role of judge and jury towards something more empowering.

All too often as leaders we can come from a place where we confuse true engagement with sharing our own expert message and communicating what teams need to do to improve. We can fall into the trap of merely broadcasting rather than “listening to hear” the real concerns of patients, front-line teams and partner organisations. Only by striving to listen will we unlock the new creativity and ideas that undoubtedly exist beyond ourselves.

For too long we also have tended to appoint NHS leaders to run their own institutions, leaving them to struggle and fall when the challenges they face are really whole system issues.

Perhaps now we are seeing a new wave of bravery in places like Cornwall and Greater Manchester where leaders have gained a new emotional and psychological understanding, beyond their undoubted intellectual prowess. They see that collaboration between organisations and citizens requires them to value deeply the very fact that they don’t have a monopoly on expertise; a world of ideas is out there for them to draw on.

Professor Keith Grint’s work on Tame and Wicked problems is illuminating. Wicked problems are intractable, multi faceted, riven with disagreement and not amenable to linear problem solving.

A clear example of a wicked problem is safety of care. Should we publish clear standards manuals and audit compliance? Should we accept that we will simply overspend and ramp up staffing levels? How can we expand staffing if not enough nurses are being trained? How can we openly acknowledge that safety is a problem whilst persuading the press we need proportionate, challenging journalism, not universal doom and gloom?

As the NHS Leadership Academy takes its new place within Health Education England, it too needs to consider deeply how more time, space and focus on creating selfless leadership can be built into its commissioned leadership programmes. Is it prepared to work ” out there” with real health and care systems like Cornwall on culture and collaboration?

Critically too work is needed at the centre to mirror selfless leadership beyond ego. What are the Civil Service College and others doing to support and challenge national leaders in the Department of Health, the CQC itself, NHS Improvement and NHS England? Will these institutions be brave enough to challenge their own cultures? Local NHS organisations and local authorities can helpfully resist an understandable temptation to criticise “up” and instead reach out to help the centre shift its perspective.

We sometimes do see signs of a desire for a more collaborative approach from the core but all too often we still see turnaround and “success” regimes imposed. In September 14% of NHS CEO jobs were either vacant or soon to become vacant.

The CQC lays down a considered leadership challenge. It is now time for them – and the NHS at national and local level – to find the selflessness to lead differently – and by example.

See LeaderShape Director, Duncan Enright’s original thought leadership commentary on the CQC report here

Indian Leaders are short on Emotional Intelligence! (says Management Next)

  lshape MNJohn Knights finds Indian leaders to be on par or even better than many global leaders in most aspects of leadership, yet, according to ManagementNext’s interpretation of his article there’s something amiss which make them behave the way they do – centralize decision-making, don’t respect other’s time, hence don’t confirm schedules, among a few. If Indian leaders were to invest in acquiring emotional intelligence, they have the opportunity to maximise their potential.

EACH TIME I LAND in Mumbai or Delhi or elsewhere in India, I feel a rush of adrenalin. I am here again to meet business leaders ranging from elite companies to start- ups – but they all have one thing in common; they are interested in how ‘leadership development’ can improve their business performance.

As I
 drive to my hotel to get some shut-eye before the first meeting I reflect on
the fact that only 30% of my agenda is confirmed but I know from experience that it will all work out and I will have a number of interesting meetings I
am not yet aware of. The mood that engulfs me is immediately optimistic, enthusiastic, friendly, open-minded and can-do. That is the effect India has on me – and these are all important characteristics for a nation on the up
– and also necessary to overcome the many serious challenges it faces.

So what about leadership in Indian businesses? And critically, what about its impact on sustainability? I see three themes that are particularly important for India at this point in time. They relate to ‘structure’, ‘process’ and, most important of all, ‘behaviour.’

Continue reading ‘Indian Leaders are short on Emotional Intelligence! (says Management Next)’

Are women better entrepreneurs?

LEADING SELF-MADE WOMEN entrepreneurs earn 17% more than the top men. However, top corporate women earn 21% less than their male equivalents – according to recent research from Barclays Wealth & Investment Management Survey.

This suggests that if we remove the cultural restraints of the male dominated corporate world, women perform better than men in the 21st century. It is interesting to also note that 6% of British women are entrepreneurs (up from 4% in 2008) compared to 12% of men and 10% of women in America.

According to this research woman entrepreneurs take fewer bank loans than men in the same position, own companies that are more likely to be sustainable, and are more driven by a work-life balance than generation of wealth.

This is consistent with LeaderShape’s experience of conducting many 360º LEIPA Assessments and coaching women leaders.  Women probably have naturally more of the attributes of leadership needed in the 21st century, but they need to overcome a few barriers to help them make the most of their potential. Continue reading ‘Are women better entrepreneurs?’

Can Mindfulness Increase Productivity?

Having drawn us away from our blackberry-addicted inattentive selves we were asked to focus on the day ahead, to be mindful of what we intended and what was involved.  We were quietly led away from immediate distractions into a deeper reality where we focused first on the simple physical realities like our breathing and then into reflection on what was important and joyful in our lives. What I feel was special about Rohan’s approach was that it was balanced between the calming and the purposeful..” Mark Goyder, Founder, Tomorrow’s Company

Can mindfulness increase productivity?

Businesses are being asked to do more for less. Many organisations are reducing staff numbers, whilst expecting remaining staff to provide the same or a better level of service. The mindful workplace is gaining popularity in leadership development and executive coaching with forward-thinking public and private sector firms such as Transport for London, Google, Harvard Business School, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the Home Office and Toyota. It has even engendered discussions in the Daily Telegraph.

Mindfulness offers new ways of thinking and working to help meet the demands of the 21st century workplace. It can help people learn to manage their own minds, to improve workplace resilience, focus and concentration, leading to improved performance and productivity. It’s like training a muscle – training attention to where you want it to be.  A large volume of research and the new body of neuroscience support its use in finding space in a frantic world.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been shown to have significant effects in dealing with challenging situations through creating a specific mental and physical state. Increasingly it is being used in companies to improve communication, reduce stress and aid creativity.  A route to this outcome is through a continuous practice of carefully paying attention, in a particular way and on purpose. Practitioners may learn to slow down or stop brain chatter and automatic or habitual reactions.

The science

Mindfulness is at the heart of authoritative clinical approaches to stress reduction and the treatment of depression.  Known as  MBCT,  Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is part of a UK national template set out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE.)   Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) follows similar principles and practices.  Other scientific evidence shows proven impacts on the mind and body, following a range of mindfulness processes.

Read more about the neuroscience and how we can learn to regulate our actions by controlling the Pre-Frontal cortex (PFC).


What does the programme in business involve?

Find out how mindfulness training might work within your organisation incorporating:

  • Short mindfulness session as part of a coaching or workshop session to help focus and to leave unhelpful distractions behind.
  • A programme enabling individuals to identify their own preferred mindful practices and supporting development into a positive habit
  • Longer mindfulness sessions or workshops to help embed mindful practices in a department or organisation.

Contact LeaderShape to discuss the expertise we can bring to you in this area.

Are Women the Best Leaders for the 21st Century?

From John Knights – Chairman, LeaderShape:

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Recent research publicised in the UK’s The Sunday Times, sourced from Barclays Wealth & Investment Management Survey explains that the top self-made women (entrepreneurs) earn more than the top men by 17% whereas the top corporate women leaders earn 21% less than their male equivalents.

This suggests that if we remove the cultural restraints of the male dominated corporate world, women perform better than men in the 21st century. It is interesting to also note that 6% of women in the UK are entrepreneurs (up from 4% in 2008) compared to 12% of men in the UK and 10% of women in the USA.

According to this research woman entrepreneurs – compared to equivalent men – take less bank loans, own companies that are more likely to be sustainable, and are more driven by a work-life balance than generation of wealth.

I am not surprised by these findings (even though they are not beyond question) as it is consistent with my own experience  of conducting many 360o LEIPA Assessments and coaching women leaders (more than men over the last 5 years).  I do believe women probably have naturally more of the “softer” attributes of leadership needed in the 21st century, but they need to overcome a few barriers to help them make the most of their potential.

Our own research at LeaderShape analysed in detail the data from our LEIPA 360o Assessment tool LEIPA of 97 leaders.   This shows there is little difference between male and female leaders in the eyes of the people who work with and for them – although again this could be to some extent because of the different expectations raters have of men and women. This is generally supported by neuroscience which so far shows little difference between male and female brains except related to reproductive functions.

Analysing 92 statements covering 19 emotional intelligence capabilities we only found a significant difference in two of the 19. In Emotional Self Control, men seemed to do better (although on further interrogation it could be that men can more effectively hide their emotions rather than manage them better in a more positive way).

The one area where women are superior is in Service Orientation.

The definition of “Service Orientation” according to Goleman et al (The New Leaders, 2002) is:

Leaders high in the service competence foster an emotional climate so that people directly in touch with the customer or client will keep the relationship on the right track. Such leaders monitor customer or client satisfaction carefully to ensure they are getting what they need. They also make themselves available as needed.

This specifically identifies women as better at customer service and client care (including internal customers) – an absolute essential to a successful and sustainable business.

Surprisingly (to us) women did not feature as better at Empathy than men. This maybe again be due to the expectation of raters but a more likely explanation is that where for many men understanding other people is not high on the agenda, women often confuse it with sympathy – ie. the focus is on sharing another person’s feeling rather than understanding them. In a business environment understanding how someone feels and why can be much more powerful in helping that person towards solutions as compared to sharing their emotions.

A critical aspect of successful leadership where women need to improve is Self-Confidence. And here I am talking about an inner self confidence (“I am happy with who I am”) rather than the macho definition of “I’m the greatest”.

My own qualitative view based on working with many women leaders is that women themselves are generally much less self-confident than the perception they give to the outside world. This is true of many men also but not to the same extent. Women tend to care very much about what people think and say about them (stone-age instincts around their nurturing and community role) and are often anxious about that – whereas men tend to care less. A good driver of course for why women are so service-oriented.

In fact, we have found that a 360o assessment process for a competent woman can be the most valuable intervention of all to increase self-confidence, as it provides proof and reassurance that the people around them think they are operating to a high quality. I have seen many women really blossom as leaders after completing a 360o assessment. Even better if it is part of an integrated  coaching, leadership development and/or women’s peer group programme.

Women also tend to be more dedicated than men at working on their development areas. This often positively impacts their approach to change, risk and conflict.

We are currently expanding the number of leaders for the basis of our research and specifically focusing more on the aspects of self-confidence.

But any future results are unlikely to change my view that a good mixture of men and women make the best leadership teams even if the women have “less experience” as they make up for it with common sense and intuition ..… as long as they have the confidence to speak up!!!