Leadership in a matrix

14 / 11 / 2012

The NHS is facing its biggest ever challenge, with the £20 billion productivity requirement alongside the huge pressures facing the social care system and the need to continue to drive up quality of care and health outcomes. Exemplary leadership in the NHS is therefore required more than ever.

In response to this significant challenge, it is clear that there is a desire from leaders across the system to work closely together to build a shared leadership approach, using and developing a variety of leadership skills. This paper written by Ciaran Devane, the Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support,  is the first in a series which will explore in detail the needs of future healthcare leaders in the new system.

Drawing on his own experiences of working in a matrix system, Ciaran Devane calls on NHS leaders to build a different set of core skills, covering conflict resolution and multi-party negotiation in order to lead through influence. He also highlights the importance of leaders being able to operate across the breadth of the new system and he makes it clear that he believes the future success of the NHS will be heavily reliant on the abilities of its leaders to build trust.

As part of this series we have also asked other respected and influential leaders from the NHS, public sector, voluntary and private sectors to share their personal insights into leadership throughout the run up to the 2013 NHS Confederation annual conference and exhibition. The series aims to stimulate discussion about the importance of leaders being able to adapt to working in the new system by building trust, leading through influence and acting courageously. We will also discuss what steps will need to be taken to ensure these skills are developed for the future.

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