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Go Back Understanding leadership behaviours for the future

Understanding the current system wide landscape of the public sector requires a different kind of leader.

In 2017 we undertook a project with a consortium of development providers to look at what kind of leadership is now needed in a system-wide approach to population health.

Identifying behaviours

In this environment of continued change, the need for a different way of looking at leadership and leadership development needs was highlighted. Central to this was exploring the type of behaviours needed to create this new model of leadership – behaviours that would support development of system-wide working as well as create the extended relationships needed to achieve better health outcomes for our population in the North West.

The project kicked off with an event that pulled together stakeholders from across the system, from the NHS, local authorities, Police, Fire, Higher Education, the Third Sector and beyond to identify the behaviours needed for effective system leadership. 


Behaviours identified


Acknowledging the scale, diversity and complexity of the system, we took these behavioural themes to a much wider audience using an online ‘crowdsourcing’ platform. By inviting people to comment on, vote for and add to the key themes, we were able to extend our reach, with over 730 new voices contributing to this conversation.

Work was then undertaken to take these thirteen behaviours and develop them into a set of System Leadership Behaviour Cards. You can read more about their development in our flyer here.

Using the cards

The aim is to share and scale this project to enable the cards to be used across the system as a means of exploring a person’s current and future readiness around these key indicators demonstrating the kinds of behaviours that enable, and obstruct, effective system leadership. 

Each card provides prompts to challenge, spark conversation and discussion and help to guide framing of development needs for leaders now as well as emerging and aspiring leaders. 

We utilised them at our the Festival of Leadership 2018 to continue to test, gather experience and evidence to enable us to share more about how they are being used in practice. To date, those who have used them have provided positive feedback and shown that the application of these cards can go wider than initially thought.

The cards are now available and were launched as an assessment tool at the Festival of Leadership 2019.


System Leadership Behaviour Cards


To find out more access the updated flyer here or contact us to find out how you can use this tool within your organisation.

We will continue to look at opportunities to spread, scale and share these cards across the North West and welcome feedback as we continue this journey. Continue the conversation on twitter using #TransformTalent @NWLA

"There is a general consensus that our healthcare leaders will need to work differently in the future, taking on a multitude of novel roles and relationships that traverse and reconfigure traditional organisation and service boundaries"

King’s Fund, 2014


NHS North West Leadership Academy Twitter avatarNHS North West Leadership Academy@nhsnwla
Register to join our next #CollaborativeNW masterclass that will focus on Inspiring Behavioural Change. Book your tickets now >>
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Gill Phazey Twitter avatarGill Phazey@GillP82
A very timely and important message from #CollaborativeNW masterclass with Dr Nelisha Wickremasinghe; self compassion is NOT self indulgent. Something we could all do with reminding ourselves #doingthebestwecan a fantastic morning with some great conversation #justbreathe
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Advancing Quality Alliance (aqua) Twitter avatarAdvancing Quality Alliance (aqua)@Aqua_NHS
To end the session, Nelisha shares practical tips for developing resilience, and leaves us with a challenge for the month ahead. #CollaborativeNW
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