It’s difficult to believe that only 4 years ago I didn’t know, or perhaps I should say I didn’t understand the difference between a manager and a leader. How naïve was I!
Prior to commencing the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, I worked as a nurse and had done since 1998 when I began my training. I have worked ‘on the frontline of care’ for 12 years before I really became aware of leadership and its great powers. So, why hadn’t I made the connection between great services and leadership?
In order to begin to understand this mystery myself, I wanted to explore what leadership means to me – what does great leadership look like? Although I am currently studying a Masters in Leadership and Service Improvement, and this has helped aid my thinking around what leadership is. For me it’s actually quite a simple question.
Leadership is not about charismatic figures that stand and address nations with a speech usually written on their behalf. It’s not the person with the biggest office, or the car parking space, or simply someone who knows how to motivate a team. Leadership is about being human and either inspiring people to take them with you – creating followers (which is what people expect) or sometimes its about pushing people in front of you, knowing their potential and helping them achieve it ( I like this idea).
I definitely think it was what happened in my case and so I am determined to repay that kindness wherever I can.
Being an active Tweeter, there have been of late some fantastic blogs and tweets recently that talk about being authentic and that show humility and emotion), and showing emotion is ok to do, in fact its brilliant!
Let’s make a pact….?Let’s allow ourselves to be emotional, to say what matters and to ‘FEEL’ what we do every day and what we strive for. Let’s make it ok and not hide away from being human after all there is now much evidence to support this style of leadership and the effect it can have on our patients and the NHS is embroiled in emotion, every day staff and patients go through life changing events and the NHS offers care and compassion to ease and support this.
So for me this is a real moment. Why in 2010 wasn’t I aware of the difference between a manager and leader? Simple, because I hadn’t experienced it!
I had the pleasure of meeting my new CEO for my final GMTS placement last week, one of the things he mentioned was about people with potential just needing that 1 break. This really resonated for me as I have always strived to make more of a difference and lead, so far mostly little ‘L’ leadership. It wasn’t until 2010 that I was given ‘my break’, the chance to showcase my passion, drive and love of the NHS. To meet with fantastic people who are like minded, including all my lovely twitter friends who support me everyday, possibly unaware of the impact they have on me. As a result of ‘my break’ I have achieved beyond my expectations already. I allow myself to dream, dream of what I can do to help be part of a large group of beautiful people who share my thinking, passion, drive and love of the NHS. Who stand in unity to ensure the NHS is there for all those we love, including ourselves, our children and generations to come. So thank you to that person who gave me my break and to those who continually support, challenge and develop me.
So, who do you know who has the potential to make a real difference, who wants to stand in unity but hasn’t had ‘their break’ yet? Who are they, and can you give it to them?