Women and leadership – (still) more to do

Despite the advances of recent years, two recent reports, Women in finance and Women on boards: 50:50 by 2020, once again draw attention to the problems women still face in obtaining senior leadership positions within the NHS and outside it | The King’s Fund

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Women in finance is about fairness, equality and inclusion for women and men. It is predicated on a desire for gender parity and a balanced workforce because, as the evidence makes clear, this improves culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity. However, the current situation in the financial services sector is quite different; more women than men start out in financial services but many women fail to move up the management scale. This leaves almost all the top jobs in the hands of men. The main reason for this, it appears, is organisational culture.

One study conducted in 2016 across a wide range of employment sectors found that unsupportive workplace cultures still present the most significant barrier to career progress for women. Amazingly this was the case for female respondents in the 20-29 age group as well as for older respondents. Gender inequality and discrimination were reported, as were difficult colleagues and managers, bullying, undervalued work, and women feeling that they have to over-perform simply because they are female. Recommendations following this study included building closer relationships between men and women in the workplace, and the provision of opportunities to discuss gender issues experienced within the organisational culture.

Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts

Reviewing the culture of NHS trusts and addressing disconnects between clinicians and managers within the organisation is key to improving care, a new CQC report has revealed. | Care Quality Commission | via National Health Executive

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The CQC has published ‘Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts’.

The document examines how a number of different trusts improved care and subsequently their CQC rating by making simple changes to how services were run.

During its study, the inspectorate found that engaging with staff and allowing for open and honest conversations was vital to making improvements to care delivery.

The CQC also discovered that successful trusts tended to make their chief executives and senior staff more visible by having them spend more time on the ‘shop floor’ – meeting staff and setting up regular channels of communication. The report also highlights the increasing challenges faced by trusts.

Read more at National Health Executive

Full report: ‘Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts’.

Leading Across The Health And Care System: Lessons From Experience

This paper offers those who are leading new systems of care some guidance on how to address the challenges they face| The King’s Fund

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Image source: The King’s Fund

As the NHS seeks to move away from competition towards integration and to develop new models of care, individuals and organisations across the health and care system need to learn to work together to make the best use of collective skills and knowledge.

Part of our Leadership in action series, this paper offers those who are leading new systems of care some guidance on how to address the challenges they face. It draws on the Fund’s work on the development of new care models, sustainability and transformation plans, and accountable care organisations. It is also informed by the experience of people who have occupied system leadership roles and draws on case studies from our research and organisational development work.

Read the full report here

Compassionate leadership in health care

Caring to change:  How compassionate leadership can stimulate innovation in health care | Kings Fund

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This paper looks at compassion as a core cultural value of the NHS and how compassionate leadership results in a working environment that encourages people to find new and improved ways of doing things.  It describes four key elements of a culture for innovative, high-quality and continually improving care and what they mean for patients, staff and the wider organisation: inspiring vision and strategy; positive inclusion and participation; enthusiastic team and cross-boundary working; and support and autonomy for staff to innovate. It also presents case studies of how compassionate leadership has led to innovation. This work was supported by the Health Foundation.

Download the full report here

Related Kings Fund blog: Compassionate leadership – more important than ever in today’s NHS

NHS Women on Boards: 50:50 by 2020

Report finds that though representation of women on NHS boards has shown improvement, women are still not being sufficiently represented in key leadership roles. | University of Exeter Business School | NHS Employers | NHS Improvement.

This report, written by Professor Ruth Sealy of the University of Exeter Business School, examines the steps the NHS needs to take to reach the target of equal gender representation on boards by 2020.  It summarises demographic data from 452 organisations, including arms-length bodies, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups.

The report reveals that of 245 NHS trusts and arms-length bodies (ALB), the percentage of female chief executives was found to be encouraging at 42.6%. But the representation of women in other key roles within these organisations was disappointing, as only 26.3% of finance directors and 24.6% of medical directors are women.

The full report is available here

Related: OnMedica: Only a quarter of key NHS leadership roles held by women

Developing women’s leadership on the road to gender parity

During a routine programme review at The King’s Fund in 2016, questions were raised as to whether we still needed our flagship Athena programme for senior women leaders. Hasn’t the glass ceiling already been broken by a number of women?

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In traditionally male-dominated industries women are making progress: Karren Brady is vice-chair of West Ham Football Club, Angela Knight is a former Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association and Cressida Dick has just been appointed as Scotland Yard’s Commissioner – the first time a woman has held the post in the Yard’s 188-year history. But while individual women are making progress, a closer look at the statistics reveals there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender balance.

In a NHS where 77 per cent of the workforce are women, only 37 per cent of board-level positions are held by women. Developing women’s leadership remains at the heart of addressing this. At The King’s Fund, we have just completed the first three-day module of our revamped Athena programme with 25 senior women working across the UK health and care landscape.

Read the full blog post here

Podcast: Inclusive Leadership in the NHS

In this podcast, the first episode in a series of two, we explore the theoretical side of inclusive leadership | NHS Employers

Dan, Diversity and Inclusion Director, Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion talks about the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace for both staff and patients. Joan, Associate Director, NHS Confederation tells us how a values based leadership is key to developing a more diverse workforce, and Michelle, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of South Australia draws on her programme of research on wellbeing at work to explain the importance of inclusive leadership in creating inclusive workplaces.

Read the overview here