What does leadership mean to you?

Welsh NHS Confederation

We asked leaders across NHS Wales what leadership meant to them. Here's what they said:

“I think leadership is about supporting and enabling my team to be the best they can be, and to deliver the best for the population of Wales. They need to feel they can trust me or they will never follow my lead and if nobody’s following you, then you’re not a leader. My role is to have their backs and take the bullets so that they can get on with their work.” Dr Aidan Fowler, Director for NHS Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Director of 1000 Lives

“I think my leadership style is fundamentally collegiate. I prefer to make progress by building consensus rather than through direction. I think that it gets the most out of people and recognises that I am often not the expert in the discussion. Facilitating the debate, creating the right environment and expecting people to do what they say they will do are the hallmarks of my approach. Having a strong team and supporting them to be the best they can has, for me, always been a more successful approach than more “heroic” forms of leadership. I don’t subscribe to the view that a single person can “save” an organisation – although a poor leader can do a lot of damage!” Steve Moore, Chief Executive, Hywel Dda University Health Board

 “For me, leadership in the NHS is about service - giving you best and living out your values every day in all you do. It is about being authentic, open, humble and willing to learn as well as having the courage to stand and be counted for doing the right thing in the face of great challenge and thereby building trust with colleagues and the public because over time you have earned that by making decisions that are not self-serving but in the best interests of the people we serve.” Sarah Jennings, Director of Governance, Communications and Engagement, Hywel Dda University Health Board

“For me it’s about creating a common sense of purpose and an environment within which we can all thrive and deliver that common purpose whilst providing the resilience to face the difficult challenges.” Steve Ham, Chief Executive, Velindre NHS Trust

“Teamwork and leadership go hand in hand and both are vital in an area as complex as health and wellbeing. Everyone in the NHS is a leader and I’m grateful to everyone for their determination to keep on to making a difference.” Gary Doherty, Chief Executive, Betsi Cadwaladr University Board

 “Leadership is a means to an end whereby ordinary people are being enabled to achieve extra-ordinary results. It uses tools that go over and beyond official titles, position of responsibility, and/ or authority. It is about persuasion, inspiration and relationship building for a journey of faith towards a clearly defined vision.” Kamal Asaad, Executive Medical Director, Cwm Taf University Health Board

“Clinical Leadership only happens when the culture of an organisation encourages, develops and trusts its clinicians. In Cwm Taf we have had a programme of leadership development for clinicians: in house alongside non-clinical assistant-directors and externally to support and enable clinicians across Wales to form support networks. The clinical leaders have then been supported to lead clinically meaningful service changes and transformation. I became involved in clinical leadership as I felt that it is not right that clinicians criticise and complain that things should be better run unless they are prepared to step up to the plate. As I have worked in a leadership position I have learned that a good decision made in a position of leadership can make more of a positive impact on more patients and staff that continuing in purely clinical practice, the corollary to that is that we need to be careful about making the right decisions as wrong decisions can also affect more people.” Ruth Alcolado, Consultant Physician, Cwm Taf University Health Board

 “Leadership is all about purpose and passion, it’s an activity not a person, it’s a verb not a noun. Each and every day there are opportunities to exercise leadership but leading can be risky .It requires constant interaction with those you are trying to influence , engaging with people to adjust expectations,  creating space to tackle the issues and supporting people to take responsibility for change and delivery.” Grace Lewis-Parry, Board Secretary, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

“Leadership is about Influencing people by what you say and do. Good leadership is influencing someone to do something well or better. Great leadership is when you influence someone to be the very best they can be.” James Moore, Assistant Director of Organisational Design & Development, Welsh Ambulance Services Trust

“Leading in complexity for me is about making connections and leveraging interdependencies; promoting and valuing diversity; challenging assumptions and habits; fostering innovation and working through dialogue.” Dr Chrissie Pickin, Executive Director of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health Wales

“My view is that leadership is a feature that emerges from the relationships of a group of people. It is something about the links that people in a group form, allied to the personalities of the individuals in the group. It cannot be taught, or imposed. But true leadership is cultivated by the group and as its singular feature is the delegation of the leaders’ authority to others in the group so the group listens to all the ideas. To gain this level of trust takes time and every disappointment destroys it and a new start is required. That is the mark of great leaders, they listen and act on the advice of the whole group. They certainly do not impose their own ideas that is not leadership that is dictatorship, which always fails disastrously in the long term.”  Mark Temple, Consultant in Public Health, Public Health Wales

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