Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and Social Care Wales ran a consultation on their Draft Leadership Principles for Health and Social Care in Wales. (which closed on the 10th April 2020).
The Bevan Commission submitted the following responses to the questions posed:
Do the principles and compass capture the right things?
We agree that compassion and empathy are aspects of a good leader – but there is a danger here in thinking compassion is a ‘first among equals’ in terms of what is required to be a good leader. Being overly compassionate can sometimes be counter-productive; as the leader who places compassion above all else is unlikely to make the “right” decision on some occasions. Life is rarely so simple that leadership can be boiled down to such a mantra.
We are generally supportive of the 9 boxes, but taken together they read somewhat as a set of tasks to be achieved or actions to be undertaken which on their own are inadequate in defining the good leader.
In summary there is a danger in thinking ‘compassionate leadership is some kind of ‘magic bullet’ –and that compassionate leadership in itself will provide high quality leadership and improved management/staff relationships. They will help but they are not the complete answer.
Is there anything missing that you'd have hoped to see there?
We would have expected to see explicit mention made of strengthening the voice, influence and control of patients and families-not just staff. This feels a strategic omission. Co-production has to be integral part of the way leadership should work in the 21st century. Furthermore we believe that leaders must be seen ‘at the coal face’ and know how to do the job they are asking others to do.
Would you be content to endorse these principles on behalf of your organisation so that we build the mandate for action?
Yes, with the provisos stated above.