Many people make the mistake of thinking that leadership is something that only very senior people have to consider. In fact, leadership is a skill that every professional manager needs to master.


Recently I attended a Maguire Healthcare training courses on Leadership and Management, our facilitator set the group an exercise to identify the skills, attitude and behaviours they observed within their hospitals every day.


Here is the list of behaviours the teams of doctors observed in their hospitals:




o   Implementation skills

o   Task orientated

o   Interested in how to get things done

o   Work in the here and now

o   Follows instructions from senior managers

o   Good people  and communication skills required

o   Task –led  and interested in getting them done to the exclusion of other factors

o   Not necessarily interested in unifying the team to get the tasks done

o   Can criticise and demotivate – often caused by the need to get the job done!

o   Make sure there is an efficient use of resources

o   Sets goals, objectives to drive results


o   Shares a Vision – Where, When & How we can all deliver it

o   Leading teams to a common goal

o   Inspiring individuals

o   Role models

o   Future Proofing and planning

o   Takes responsibility  and takes the blame – the buck stops with them

o   Building the strategy and direction leaving tasks to the managers

o   Gathers talent to deliver the goals

o   Understands capability – playing to strengths

o   Leads , inspires and motivating

o   Defines objectives


It makes for very interesting reading, very much supported by a survey Maguire Healthcare training recently undertook;


The NHS needs highly capable managers to negotiate the current healthcare environment. However, there is little evidence that the present training approaches to building these skills are working.


The NHS appears to be spending less on management development compared with private sector organisations. Analysis of annual spending on management and leadership training for NHS provider employees equates to approximately £260 per employee. In comparison, the private sector spends on average £320 per employee (Source: CIPD. Learning & Talent Development Annual Survey 2010)


There is huge variation in expenditure between NHS providers. Even allowing for data accuracy issues in trust allocation of training and education spending, annual provider expenditure varies from less than £100 to more than £1,000 per employee.


In addition, many trusts do not track how much they spend on development and what is proving to be effective at changing key behaviours. Interviews conducted with NHS senior leaders found that there was little aggregation of development investment within trusts, inadequate evaluation of programmes, and no comparison of development expenditure between trusts.


The same leaders highlighted key management capability gaps. For example, they suggested that existing investments in leadership skills are not translating into large-scale improvements.


In summary


Making management and leadership training in the NHS genuinely impactful requires:


  • Focusing training around delivering tangible outcomes
  • Training to be demand-led and focused on where there is an actual business need
  • Developing skills which are relevant to day-to-day working challenges
  • Setting high expectations for outcomes
  • Linking training to talent management, development and succession planning
  • Active collaboration between trusts



Chris Dalzell

Relationship Director

Maguire Healthcare Training

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