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System Leadership

One way of understanding system leadership is that of working beyond organisational boundaries on challenges of mutual concern that cannot be solved by any one person or institution. The system is no longer focused on operating as sole organisations and calls for a collaborative approach across a variety of new boundaries. We recognise the complexity of these challenges upon the system and ask of leaders across the health and care system to embody future focused, inclusive leadership qualities. 

System leadership emphasises particular leadership qualities required to effectively work across boundaries with diverse groups of people, patients, citizens and staff. It involves leaders working in a system and, at the same time, acting as change agents within that system to improve its overall performance, focused on improving the health of the local population. It should not be underestimated how huge the challenge of integrated health and care is, nor the opportunities that it brings in encouraging an inclusive approach with system-wide engagement. 

The need for greater partnership working in a multi-agency approach has been developed primarily within the NHS, though it is essential that other agencies (including public, private and third sector bodies) are included. This is of particular importance when creating the leadership climate and culture that lay the foundations for transformation across networks of organisations and health and care systems. The approach must be inclusive of all stakeholders when considering local communities and the wider determinants of health. 

We work with our members and the wider system to recognise who the right people are, identify priorities, in what place and for what purpose, bringing clarity to the planned intervention or offer.

Through the development and implementation of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), local systems will be driven towards more collaborative, diverse, inclusive, outcome focused approaches whilst maintaining quality, compassion, financial balance and effective individual performance. Such is the nature of the transformation ahead of us, it is naïve to believe that any one organisational will achieve it without the help and support of others. Meeting such ambitions will demand a different kind of leadership.

“We have far more in common than that divides us”
Jo Cox

There are four domains which have been identified that create the conditions for good system leadership:

  • Individual effectiveness: resilience of individuals and their roles in the organisations and the system. Individuals aim to develop new behaviours and ways of working that promote a collaborative approach
  • Relationships and connectivity: creating the right kind of relationships with communities and partners with people coming together for a purpose. Place based system, service or pathway led and aiming to develop consistency of approach or to tackle complex issues collectively
  • Innovation and improvement: creating new ways of thinking, experimentation and discovery. Applying improvement methodologies, testing, learning, spreading and adopting better ways of doing things
  • Learning and capacity building: creating a learning system with a culture of transparency to share and enable the awareness of best practice and development of common understanding
NHS North West Leadership AcademyNHS North West Leadership Academy@nhsnwla
In Spring 2019 #NorthWest Talent Practitioners were invited to come together to build their own Communities of Practice, safe spaces to connect, explore & shape perspectives, with the aim of developing effective systems. This is the story so far https://t.co/CcRtubgCa6 #NHSTalent https://t.co/qEpZ2snEB1
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Calling all community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians! Together with @cppeengland we’re offering fully-funded #SeacoleProg places. Applications for the next nine cohorts of our #SeacoleProg will open on 27 August. Find out more: https://t.co/V9p604Ho54 https://t.co/zfLwpJMIRa
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NHS North West Leadership AcademyNHS North West Leadership Academy@nhsnwla
We are aware of the many changes facing our most senior leaders and want to offer support; to allow them to explore the additional opportunities and challenges these changes bring. Access our Executive Coaching Support now. https://t.co/Y9mthCEFRY https://t.co/9zYq0bz4vJ
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