Friday, 5 September 2014

What does it take to be a leader?

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about leadership.

This was prompted by two significant things: firstly I was Acting Chief Officer while my boss took a well-earned break; and secondly I attended a feedback session for survey results as part of my participation in the NHS Leadership Academy  Top Leaders’ Programme.

Prior to the feedback I had to undertake a series of ‘diagnostic’ tests. It wasn’t as scary as that sounds, but included me seeking 360 degree feedback through an online survey from a range of colleagues; completing my own version of this survey and also taking tests on the following:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Organisational Climate
  • Leadership Styles
  • Career History & Mobility
  • Personal Dimensions

This was the first time I’ve had proper 360 degree feedback through a formal anonymised process, so was really looking forward to some insightful and honest views. I wasn’t disappointed, as my colleagues were generous with their praise for my strengths and clear and genuine in identifying areas for my development.

The purpose of the ‘diagnostic’ feedback session was to work through the 360 degree feedback alongside the results of the other tests/surveys I had undertaken to look for key messages and themes for me to work on throughout the Programme. Whilst it was tempting to try to read too much into individual elements of the results or single comments, I was helpfully steered through the themes and have much to work on for my development and to support the development of those around me.
You have to leave your ego at the door to really hear the messages of the feedback and to be open to change to become a better leader.  One key thing I took away from the feedback session was confirmation of the amount of work and effort I need to put in to be the leader that I want to be. It has really helped me to focus on the areas of change that I can make in myself, my attitudes and behaviours to have the best impact whilst remaining true to myself, my values and beliefs.
I have some work to do to make some changes now, but will have more opportunity to explore the themes from the diagnostic tests further with my mentor and at the first proper sessions of the Programme in late November. I am looking forward to meeting my fellow 'cohort 18' participants from around the NHS and to learning from their different perspectives and experiences, as well as offering my support to them.

I'll keep you posted on my progress...


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