I’m running two taster sessions at the end of this month with the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM).

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 06.14.20

All leadership development starts with understanding yourself better. Being aware of your preferences, noticing how you do things, reflecting on your behaviour and the choices you make, is crucial to growing as a leader – whatever stage of your career.

Within these sessions we will explore the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI).

These workshops will:

  • Strengthen your awareness of your leadership and management strengths and weaknesses
  • Improve your self awareness, awareness of others and managing your relationships
  • Understand your role within team dynamics and cope with the inevitable conflicts that arise
  • Identify your learning needs and build a development plan

The two taster sessions are:

The Leader Within 9.30 to 12.30 25th June at the Royal college of Physicians

Leading Change – Managing Conflict 1.30 to 4.30pm 25th June at the Royal college of Physicians

NB. These sessions make reference to the FMLM Leadership & Management Standards

Why are ineffectual teams so common?

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 09.51.29

I hear clients talk about their poorly performing teams and the stress this causes frequently. People assume that as adults, teamwork should come naturally, especially in the health service where everyone has the same goal. However, finding a role in your team, contributing positively and leading democratically do not come easily. More typically, the group dynamics are poor, there is conflict around decision-making, low levels of trust or the leadership is weak. This affects everything and it’s really difficult to move the team to a better position.

It can be more straightforward in clinical teams where there is a hierarchy and focus that enable people to understand the shared purpose. However put Doctors into managerial teams, research teams, projects teams, educational teams, peers groups etc, then the dynamics can be very different, much harder to navigate and can be constantly shifting.

I think the reason that ineffectual teams are so common is because people assume teams can take care of themselves or it’s someone else’s responsibility. They can’t and it isn’t. It takes planning and action by all to make them work well.  Here are some tips to think about if you are considering starting a new team or reflecting on a poorly functioning team.

Starting a new team:

  1. Be clear about the purpose of the team and what its’ objectives are.
  2. Be clear about the roles that you expect people to play in the team.
  3. Be clear about your shared values for being a part of this team.
  4. Be clear about how you will work, meet and get things done.

Remember, managing peoples’ expectations is crucial to getting off on the right foot. This is all common sense, but don’t take it for granted. Make sure you don’t make assumptions about other peoples’ motivations or willingness to contribute. Remember that all groups typically will travel through Tuckman’s stages of:

Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing

Developing an existing team:

  1. Draw a map of the team to get a birds-eye view of all the members and their positions. What does this tell you?
  2. In order to build trust, practice empathising with other members and get to know them a bit better.
  3. Accept that conflict is a part of any team and develop a strategy to manage the conflict safely.
  4. Acknowledge that everyone has an equal role to play and should be heard.

Remember, poorly functioning teams are usually driven by negative behaviour and behaviour is driven by feelings. Observe what emotions appear to be present, and why. Consider your own feelings and perhaps talk to other members about theirs. If you are able to pinpoint what emotions are contaminating your team, you stand a better chance of identifying the problem and doing something about it.

It’s uncomfortable to face these challenges, especially if no one else seems to want to take it on. But if you really want to be part of a better team, then someone has to make a start.

Team building does not happen on away days, it happens every day at work.

 

You may find a recent article in ‘Advances in psychiatric treatment’ – Teamwork: the art of being a leader and team player useful.

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com

Doctors who manage their emotions effectively, make better leaders.

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 10.25.57

We assume Doctors are ‘natural’ leaders. But there’s no real training for it in medical education or specialty training programmes and people are expected to evolve their leadership skills naturally. For something so important, why is it left to chance?

 

I think everyone needs help and guidance on developing leadership skills; it improves your working relationships and can have a big impact on how you can make things better.

Firstly it’s important to make the distinction between management and leadership.

Management is the ways in which we organise ourselves and responsibilities whilst keeping productive.

Leadership is the way in which we deal with competitiveness, volatility, uncertainty and conflict in the pursuit of strategic objectives. It involves engaging and inspiring others and gaining their trust at times of change or risk.

All of these things are highly emotive subjects and good leadership comes from managing your emotions and reading others’. Great leaders are known by their capacity to connect; be courageous; walk their own talk; inspire others to action; and be worth following.

And the most emotionally influential part of your body is your amygdala. This is the part of your limbic system that assigns emotions to every piece of data that passes through your mind – before it even reaches your cortex. It will assign one of the following 8 emotions to any thought.

Fear, Anger, Disgust, Shame, Sadness – all defensive / escape emotions

Surprise – potentiating emotion

Love, Trust – both attachment / engagement emotions

For survival purposes, there are more defensive emotions that attachment ones, which means that most of us have a propensity to default to the defensive.

So it’s easy to see why there is often a combative culture between colleagues and management in the stressful and increasingly pressured clinical environment. The alarming speed a which your amygdala assigns emotions means that it can be very difficult to intercept feelings which are defensively unhelpful. So assisting people to read their own emotions and those of others, to encourage more rational and measured responses is a crucial part of leadership development. I believe Doctors deserve to have access to this.

We are powered by an emotional brain and its job is to forge relationships and establish intelligent emotions…We need to raise our awareness of how we refine emotions/feelings into judgement, because feelings are the data on which judgements are made.” Professor Paul Brown*

*Professor Paul Brown is a consulting clinical and organisational psychologist and Head of the Psychology and Applied Neuroscience Unit of the National Science Council with the Prime Ministeris Office of Lao PDR.

Three NEW coaching programmes

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 12.21.09There are 3 common themes that many of my clients, Doctors, wish to focus on. Whilst the individual contexts are always different, I’ve decided to launch this brand new set of 3 coaching programmes that have been designed for people who want to target their learning on one of these subjects:

1. Managing Conflict      2. Managing Time      3. Effective Communications

A coaching programme on one of these themes will give you the opportunity to review, assess and improve your competency in these areas. Together we will identify your goal, assess your preferences and working styles, and use your professional situation to design new tactics and test them out.

Each Programme includes:

  • 1 x test and feedback session (e.g. TKI, MBTI or EI)
  • 3 x one-to-one coaching sessions lasting approx 90minutes
  • Post coaching session summary to aid your reflection
  • Programme learning resources

Each programme costs £350. To find out more about each programme, download the NEW programmes 2013 brochure here.

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com and book your FREE initial consultation.

Handling conflict is a part of everyone’s working life, so what can Doctors do to manage it better?

A recent article in the press caught my attention. ‘Top doctors sent home for fighting: Hospital Consultant looses tooth after he and colleague squared up outside operating theatre.’ Article here. 

Unfortunately the culture for hospital Doctors, between colleagues or specialities, can often be combative. Over reliance on command & control and territorial behaviours means that conflict working styles that are productive are not displayed enough. It leaves people feeling stressed and anxious about how they manage their working relationships.

Of course there is nothing wrong with conflict in itself. Differences between people and teams are normal. It’s how we handle it that counts. The model I use to help my clients get a better handle on conflict is the TKI™ (Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode Instrument). This model describes 5 different conflict positions that all serve a purpose in working through differences. They are:

Competing – Collaborating – Compromising – Avoiding – Accommodating

Ideally we need to be skilled at using them all and choose which to use depending on the conflict and our position within it. The question is, which one do you overuse and which don’t you use enough? Are you adapting to each situation and analysing what is needed, or are you getting caught up in the emotion and heat of the moment?

By using a model like TKI™ you can develop a more rational and objective response to conflict which will help you manage these inevitable situations better.

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com to book your online TKI test.

 

The TKI™ (Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode Instrument) is an easy and accessible tool to help people handle conflict better. By identifying alternative conflict styles, it helps you reframe and defuse conflict, creating more productive results. The TKI questionnaire identifies five distinct conflict styles and provides you with conflict-management solutions. As with MBTI, you fill in a questionnaire and then a feedback session talks you through the report generated. I can administrate this for you. Find out more here.