23rd April 2015 Written by Christina Pond

Image: Leadership tips.
In the past few years, leadership development has become a main focus within the healthcare sector. A good leader has the ability to inspire people to achieve incredible things. Here Executive Director for Core Contracts & Policy, Skills for Health, Christina Pond, gives her top 10 tips on how you can become a great leader.


1.  Find your supporters/friends in order to build a receptive local culture and a critical mass for change. A successful leader should engage with colleagues and key stakeholders to build support and trust. This is particularly important during periods of change or uncertainty. Identifying who your supporters are and how that support translates into action is vital for leaders seeking to undertake change.


2.  Don't be afraid to ask the “killer" question and challenge existing models. Just because something is done a certain way does not mean that it is being done in the best way. Seek advice from those that have knowledge in areas where you are lacking, invite challenge, but do not be afraid to challenge others. A “fresh set of eyes” can bring clarity to a situation or identify improvements that might otherwise remain hidden by assumptions or ingrained working practices.


3.  Keep it simple It is important that an organisation has a shared direction of travel that everyone understands It is equally important that those involved in delivering the change have ownership and feel involved in the creation of the vision for change (co-creation) Your role as a leader may be to support the development of a vision for the entire organisation or it could be to translate a national or organisational wide vision to the local level, making it relevant to your workplace.


4.  Show your appreciation by valuing people. Any organisation is only as good as its staff. Showing appreciation to staff for a job well done can motivate and help build morale and corporacy. Think about creative ways of recognising the efforts of staff and celebrating achievement Saying thank you and praising appropriately can have a huge impact.


5.  Admit mistakes - and be honest with yourself and others when you have got it wrong or simply don’t know. Personal integrity and openness are important characteristics of any leader. Good corporate governance and social responsibility are now the rule rather than the exception and leaders are expected to exemplify these behaviours.


6.  Remember the benefit of "team" and do not try to go it alone you need to encourage the creative input of all team members. A good leader should have the confidence to draw upon all available resources, including the wide range of skills and abilities of others around them and by delegating and sharing, you enable and develop their skills. Good communications can play an important role in building a sense of team within an organisation and can help encourage meaningful dialogue between different parts of an organisation.


7.  Really listen – this is about listening without judgement, understanding the subtext of what people are saying and paying as much attention to the non-verbal signals as to the verbal presentation. The importance of good listening skills should not be underrated. People often “hear” what they want to hear rather than what is actually being said. Take time to listen to other people’s points of view, put yourself in their position and think about what they are really trying to tell you Building empathy underpins effective working relationships.


8.  Be what you want others to be - As a leader, you will be a role model for other people in your organisation. and you need to ensure that what you so and what you say is congruent and reflects the values and behaviours that you expect of others. People can be quick to judge leaders that fall below the level of expectation that they set for their staff or colleagues. Make sure you are setting the right example.


9.  Never stop learning - develop yourself and others. For a very few people, leadership comes naturally, for the vast majority leadership skills need to be developed. In today’s ever-changing workplace it is important to not only develop your leadership skills but to also work on the skills and knowledge vital to your profession. As a leader you need to create the environment in which both you and those you work with can continue to learn and where personal development and growth is demonstrably valued.


10.  Know yourself, effective leadership begins with self-knowledge you need to understand your own emotional responses and be aware of the impact that people and situations have for you. You need to be able to manage these emotions appropriately in your interactions with others to build healthy and constructive working relationships. The skills of self-awareness and self-regulation, components of your emotional intelligence, like other leadership skills, can be developed.