NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar introduced the session by saying one loud strong representative voice requires thousands and thousands of strong voices.
One voice, one strategy
He used the analogy of the half time talk in football. He said: “The first half of the half time talk should be used to ask everyone 'what's going on?' and the second half where all those voices unite behind one voice, one strategy.
“Good planning and strategy depends on the richness of the initial dialogue,” he said.
Courageous personal behaviours
Mike also said we must be courageous in our personal behaviours individually and that we must be true and accountable to ourselves.
Panellist Clare Gerada, chair of the RCGP, told delegates that trust is the most important aspect of leadership. “We can all strive to be more courageous and honest but trust is absolute,” she said. “You either trust someone or you don't.”
She said she lost trust in the Government’s consultation on reforms after, she believed, the views of the public were misrepresented by the NHS Future Forum.
She said there are three ways we must earn trust:
- through using language that doesn't denigrate the patient.
- by ensuring rationing of care is removed from consultation and ensuring that patient interest is the basis of all decisions.
- challenging inequalities.
She said leaders should be brave enough to say they don't know when they don't know, should value dissent and disagreement, and be prepared to re-evaluate.
Empower frontline staff
Sir Hugo Orde, president of ACPO and former police chief of Northern Ireland, told the audience he thinks leaders should empower their frontline staff to do the right thing rather than dictating the right way of doing something, adding that a code of ethics is better than strict policy or procedures.
By empowering in this way, he said, leaders must accept they won't know everything that's going on and that they should be brave and say when they “have got it wrong.”
Support and resilience
He said staff need to know that their leaders will support them in their decisions and he championed quiet conversations with those at the front line as the best way of keeping informed.
Leaders need resilience, he said.
Questions and answers
Asked how to inspire and motivate staff, the NHS Confederation’s Mike Farrar said “by living the values of the NHS.”
Clare Gerada said fear often paralyses us and we need to create a culture where people feel it is ok to speak out. Mike said we must be role models for that culture.
The panel were as one in championing learning organisations over blame culture ones.
Watch the panel session online