Building Value-Driven Leadership: making the most of compassion and inclusion

OE Cam is delighted to receive an award for ‘Excellence in Leadership‘ from the BPS’ Division of Psychology for its Embedding Values-led Leadership work with Solent NHS Trust.  Chief Executive, Sue Harriman, nominated two psychologists in particular for this award, Dr Hazel McLaughlin in the OE Cam team and Helen Ives, Chief People Officer from Solent NHS Trust.

Values-led leadership is increasingly important – going beyond a poster on the wall to really understand how to embed values in leadership behaviours and mindset as part of development programmes.  The summary below is an example of how we’ve helped one organisation.

 

Background

Solent NHS Trust is a community organisation formed from the merger of two trusts and has sites in over 120 locations.  It is important that the Trust operates effectively as one organisation with a focus on delivering outstanding patient care and being ‘a great place to work’.  The Board recognised that values-led leadership was a key component in making this a reality supported by a strong culture based on Solent’s shared HEART values (Honesty, Everyone counts, Accountability, Respectfulness & Teamwork).

 

Overview of the project

OE Cam co-designed the project with Solent’s HR & leadership teams with the aim of improving the impact of leadership across the organisation.  The programme included workshops with the Board and an integrated development process for senior leaders focussing on embedding values-led leadership.  Working with around 40 senior leaders, we established what the values really meant in practice to develop a new behavioural framework.

Leading with HEART” Development Centres were designed to be a learning-based approach to enhance values-led leadership.  In total, 100 leaders took part in the programme across three cohorts (2016 – 2019).  The core development activity took place over three months with a much longer wraparound of activity for approximately a year, which created a seamless learning journey.  The Development Centre itself included a series of business simulations (designed specifically for the context) followed by ‘hot’ feedback, coaching and completion of diagnostic tools that explored motives, drivers, emotional intelligence and personal resilience.  The methodologies allowed us to explore leadership mindset alongside behaviours.  The design incorporated key predictors of leadership development including facilitation, visible support from managers before, during & after the events, experimentation, reflection, discussion and experience.

The Development Centre itself included a series of business simulations (designed specifically for the context) followed by ‘hot’ feedback, coaching and completion of diagnostic tools that explored motives, drivers, emotional intelligence and personal resilience.

We also worked with the Board to review their strengths, style and capabilities and took part in a series of workshops.  This enabled them to increase their self-awareness, appreciate the strengths of their fellow members and to explore how to lead in a complex and changing environment.  The focus was on being ambi-dextrous (e.g. being strategic whilst ensuring operational effectiveness), balancing preferences (including attitude to risk, social and emotional aspects and how outward-facing they were), making better use of the Non-Executive Directors and developing board effectiveness.  The workshop was followed up by Board observation and coaching to embed different interactions and behaviours.

The NHS recognises that compassionate and inclusive leadership is an enabler for innovation and improvement in patient care.  The project design enabled leaders to understand how they embody compassion & the HEART values and what this means in practice.

it was possible to distinguish between deeper-seated personal qualities and values that support cultural change as opposed to more surface-level leadership competencies

Drawing on transformational leadership research by Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe (2001), it was possible to distinguish between deeper-seated personal qualities and values that support cultural change as opposed to more surface-level leadership competencies.  An additional goal was agreed to describe the behaviours and characteristics that might be seen from leaders who embody the HEART values.

 

Outcomes delivered

Our own evaluation indicated real behavioural change and increased awareness of values-led leadership over the three years.  As well as participant feedback and analysis of questionnaire data, an Appreciative Inquiry review in 2019 involving senior leaders who had taken part in the development process in previous cohorts provided longitudinal evidence for behaviour change and development.    NHS Solent leaders are more empowered to act, accountable and collaborative across the organisation.  External measures also show improvements in CQC ratings and staff engagement results.

For more information about our leadership development programmes, please contact Toni Marshall at toni.marshall@oecam.com