Monday, 31 August 2015

Doing leadership differently

Hit the ground kneeling is the unlikely  title of a surprisingly helpful and short book on leadership. Written by  Stephen Cottrell, the current Bishop of Chelmsford, it proposes a rather different approach to the average thrusting, self confident view of leadership. Although written from a Christian perspective it has much relevance for leaders in any context.

Our wonderful and yet ailing NHS is in much need of good leadership and I  suggest that members of CCGs and other GP colleagues would gain much benefit from taking time out to read and allow the ideas in this book to bed down and influence their working pratices.

Take chapter one and Jumping off the bandwagon. The language may not be classic Harvard Business School, but so what?
'Creativity is usually cultivated in the soil of contemplation. The ability to act decisively (and correctly) often arises from a well of stillness....it is said that during difficult meetings that ran late into the evening Abraham Lincoln lead his cabinet outside and bid them contemplate the night sky for a few minutes. He would then share with them his knowledge of the make up of the galaxies, reckoning that when they were put in touch with something beyond themselves, they would be better able to deal with the business in front of them.'
How crazy it is that our MPs go on debating into the night, and making poor decisions as a result. How sad it is that the average GP spends no time at all just thinking. The 10 minute consultation is just too short for the myriad of undifferentiated problems that many of our patients present with. I suspect that mich of the increasing stress between doctors in partnerships arises from lack of contemplation and reflection. Partnership meetings are squeezed between surgeries or held in the evening when everyone is tired. No wonder stress in GPs is leading to the ultimate response of more and more tragic suicides. You just want to scream that the emperor has no clothes. Stressed doctors are not good doctors.

Of course there are no easy answers, but somehow as a nation we need to adequately fund primary care giving its frontline nurses and medics time to think and reflect and replenish. Sadly it seems the decision makers are type A driven personalities who plough on and over others, creating mayhem all around them and ironically not caring for their fellow workers who are expected to deliver the care with targets at the forefront, and the individuality of the patients at the rear.

We need a reapplication of the good old Green Cross Code, Stop, look, listen, if GPs and other health care workers, are to survive.
Post a Comment

The Long Walk

It's always a bit chancy to give someone a book. A little like recommending a restaurant. Will others like it? Will the service be as go...