Developing leadership behaviours

What this looks like in practice

  • Have a clear leadership development strategy in place outlining capability requirements and access to training.
  • Understand current leadership styles and approaches through board development sessions identifying strengths and gaps for each individual and as a team.
  • Create leadership stability and continuity of approach.
  • Support leaders across the system to live and breathe the values and behaviours of the organisation and hold leaders to account for behaviours, not just improvement outcomes.
  • Clearly agree and outline the support which is in place for people to improve their own services.
  • Provide training and development for everyone who has a formal leadership role so they have skills and experience of delivering improvements and can role model leading for improvement.
  • Encourage board development to better understand how current leadership behaviours are demonstrating organisational values, identifying strengths and gaps.
  • Engage with peer support networks to understand different approach to the issues and leadership behaviours.
  • Empower teams delivering on the ground to carry out and test improvement projects.
  • Senior and executive leadership should engage in frequent huddles/stand up meetings or workplace visits to engage and coach staff who are delivering on the front line. Live the values of the organisation every day.

Guidance and resources

Courses, workshops and events

  • Training and Events – Improvement Academy – Improvement Academy training courses, both virtual and online, focus on helping health and care staff to improve the safety and quality of care in everyday practice.
  • Bitesize learning – Leadership Academy – Develop new skills and discover new ways to improve your experience of work with short guides developed by experts. Open to anyone in health and care.
  • Programmes – Leadership Academy – The Leadership Academy programmes are designed to help everyone in the NHS discover their full leadership potential and achieve the highest standards in health and care.

Free tools and guides

Journal articles, reports and research

Leadership networks

Leadership networks can be found through:

Case studies

Examples of this happening in practice:

North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (NENC)

The leaders of NENC have created an improvement and learning collaboration, aiming to create a future where every partner organisation in the integrated care system is focused on common purpose and joint determination to drive improvements in health, wealth and wellbeing. This is about building leverage for improvement across the whole system, including NHS, local government and voluntary sector partners, building on system strengths. It means putting leadership for improvement at the heart of the system; acting as convenors – creating spaces where people can come together to collectively learn; connectors – helping to join up the system (and beyond) with more of itself; and capability-builders – supporting people to use proven methods and data for making and spreading improvement in key priority areas.

Messenger Review (2021)

The need for managerial and leadership development of people working in both clinical and support roles has also been recognised in the Messenger Review (2021):

…development of the standards – the standards should be co-created, with input from across healthcare, including patient representatives, accounting for good practice that already exists, such as in the NHS People Plan. They should cover operational, strategic management and most importantly, the behavioural components and responsibilities for managers for inclusive leadership, as underpinned by all parts of this review.

Further case studies to demonstrate developing leadership behaviours: