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Staff management

Overview

Staff management is a critical ingredient in the overall focus on the leadership capability of the NHS Health Informatics function and is an issue for a range of staff; from team leaders in technical roles, to Informatics Directors.

Developing leadership and management skills in the NHS needs focus in the following areas:

  • Leading a team: requires a leader to spend time thinking about the task, the team and the individuals. The ratio needs to be right for any given situation for it to work effectively.
  • Leadership styles: most NHS management requires management by influence rather than by giving orders. Typically, a leader should be:
    • Authoritative - clear, motivating
    • Affiliative - creates emotional bonds, harmony within a team
    • Democratic - consensus building, inclusive
    • Coaching - developmental
    • Coercive - demands compliance
    • Pace setting - high personal standards, expects the same from others, can be overwhelming.
  • Communication: it's a two way process - 50% of communication is listening.
  • Strategic planning: how do you know when you've got there if you don't know where you are going?
  • Managing change: people like change when they are initiating it. Good change management requires that we recognise that enforced change has a similar reaction cycle to bereavement, i.e. from unhappiness, to anger, to resentment, to acceptance.
  • Changing the culture: the comment has been made that morale in the NHS is at an all time low. Ask yourself "why?" Pressure of work, enforced change and poor leadership styles can result in low morale in teams. Managers and leaders who are effective manage these areas well, resulting in strong teams with good morale.
  • Personal traits: a good leader or manager will often display the following personal traits:
    • Enthusiasm
    • Commitment and interest
    • Toughness - respect versus popularity
    • Fairness - treating individuals differently but fairly
    • Humility (not arrogance) and willingness to listen
    • Confidence - but not over confident
    • Integrity - gains trust and has principals and values.

Think of a good leader or manager that you know and consider how many of the above qualities they display. Ask yourself which traits and leadership styles you would be likely to show in a given situation and then see where you can improve.

Resources

Further information