This report explores what difference leadership development makes, and how it can have impact on service and quality improvement.
The research demonstrates the importance of good relationships and of working well and collaboratively with individuals and groups as key strengths in leading the delivery of service improvements. These skills feature more prominently in reported patterns of leadership behaviour than task-related or conceptual skills.
Other findings include:
- enabling and facilitating others to make their contribution is central to leading improvement in the NHS.
- complexity is indeed a relevant factor, with greater complexity reportedly leading to greater use of certain aspects of leadership.
- more innovative improvement work, involving more complex influencing, is associated with combining operational management with longer term relationship-building, while keeping an opportunistic eye on the possibilities for the future.
- responsive and nimble leadership which anticipates change, is ready to adapt to altering, unpredictable circumstances, and is particularly associated with sustainable improvement and tangible impact.
- participants found the most helpful leadership programme content to be the academic input, informal networking, action learning and coaching.
- participants’ perceptions about the personal benefits they obtained from their programme tended to be greater than those about organisational or service benefit.
- attributing improvement to leadership behaviours is fraught with difficulties, but the lessons learned about how to do this pave the way for linking leadership input with service outcome.
Download: What’s leadership got to do with it?