Having just returned from the Leaders in Healthcare conference I’m thinking a lot about the linear nature of medical careers.

With other Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Coaches, I had the opportunity to offer Speed Coaching to delegates and contributed to a number of breakout sessions. Hearing people talk about their career (whether early, mid or later) I was reminded of how difficult it can be for people to diverge from the usual path.

We know that the medical education and training pathway is long and hard. It clearly requires immense dedication, effort and focus. But it might not give people the time to think laterally or longer term about their options, ideas or passions.

I know that the situation is better than it used to be and people can take career breaks, fellowships and transfers, and equally I know the service need is significant – we need people on the ground. However, those who do take alternative pathways often feel isolated and can be made to feel bad about their choices.

People who have taken a divergent path often say they have benefited enormously and cite the following:

  • strengthened confidence and therefore resilience
  • increased sense of purpose and highly developed interest areas
  • better worklife balance and life perspective
  • broader and more diverse networks

And they sometimes say they think it makes them a better doctor.

I still think we have one of the best medical education systems in the world, despite the interference of the government. But I think it is useful to reflect on the route and destination – might it be worth being a bit divergent?

Early Career Doctors  – consider a year away from clinical practice as a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow with the FMLM CLICK HERE. 

Next application round starts this month for fellowships to start September 2018. CLICK HERE for an idea of the timeline.

If you would like to talk to me about your career development needs call me on 07540 593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

Leadership development comes in many different forms, but it should always be seen as a practical endeavour.

A new programme developed by the Faculty of Leadership & Management (FMLM) team alongside the Royal College of Surgeons promises to be really interesting and crucially, focused on putting learning into action.

It is designed for new consultants (within five years of appointment) and exceptional senior trainees who hold the ambition to undertake significant leadership roles alongside their clinical practice.

You need to get your MD and CEO to support your application and you need to think about what leadership challenge you are or will soon be working on – so you can apply the programme learning back in your day job.

Application Deadline: 16 October 2017

First session: 21 November 2017

Medical leadership must move from an ‘amateur sport’ to a professional discipline.”Professor Peter Lees

Successful completion of the programme could lead to gaining Associate Fellowship of FMLM.

Click HERE to read all about the programme and apply.

 

As a coach I encourage those I work with to put their learning into action.

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But I know this is not easy and requires ongoing support and input to encourage actively learning from experiences – through the day job. I also know that when I’m facilitating courses and programmes to groups, people really value and enjoy engaging with and learning from fellow clinicians.

Thats why I helped design and am looking forward to delivering Action Learning Sets (ALS) for Doctors organised by the FMLM*.

The idea

You benefit from a learning programme designed with medical leadership development at its heart, with the advantage of professional facilitation by experienced coaches and the value of learning with a liked-minded group of doctors who you can build a network with.

The programme

With the Action Learning Set programme, not only will you learn and develop those essential leadership and management skills as needed by today’s clinicians but you will also develop an exciting new way of learning through Action Learning Set facilitation and learn just how you could use this approach on your own clinical and leadership journey.
The four sessions will cover:
  • Individual development and how to better understand yourself
  • Developing team working and managing change.
  • Organisational working, exploring you as an individual and as a team member in the overall context of the system.
  • Using the skills you have learnt from previous sets to self-facilitate and explore opportunities beyond the ALS programme.

The programme is for doctors who are either in or moving to a leadership and management role and will be delivered via four half-day sessions between September and December 2017, one set in London, one set in Birmingham.

Dates for the Birmingham set: Wednesday 20 September, Wedensday 18 October, Wednesday 15 November and Wednesday 13 December. This will be run by myself and colleague Liz McCaw.

Dates for the London set: Thursday 14 September, Thursday 12 October, Thursday 9 November and Thursday 7 December. This will be run by John Aspden and colleague Liz McCaw.

Cost: £750 for the whole programme (thats £187.50 for each half day!)

*Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management

Leadership is not a theoretical exercise, but a practical endeavour.”

Click HERE to register with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management for a Action Learning Set.

How we get on with people at work really affects us. Seems obvious, but it is not easy, especially when everyone is under so much pressure.

Face to faceWhen working with teams or individuals the quality of our relationships; our ability to trust and manage healthy conflict all contribute to our sense of well-being and ultimately resilience. But obviously we all have a different approach to managing our relationships, based on our underlying needs and what we are prepared to show we want.

So, as part of my CPD for 2017 I decided to train in a diagnostic tool with OPP to learn more about our interpersonal behaviours – specifically how we orientate ourselves to those around us. This is why I chose the FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) instrument. It is grounded in solid research developed over 50years and gives practical insight with an objective report on what you might want and how you might express this to others.

Why is this useful in a busy healthcare environment?

Those of us who have worked in or continue to work in the healthcare sector know, without a doubt, that it is the people that really make the system what it is. And it is the quality of their relationships with each other that see them through times of great stress or brilliant innovation. So understanding how you orientate your self to others is a additional insight that is highly valuable.

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So how does FIRO work?

The model breaks down into three areas that Will Schutz described in1958  -originally devised to measure and predict the interaction between people for the purpose of assembling highly productive teams in the US Navy.

 

Schutz describes our interpersonal needs* as:

Involvement    Influence    Connection 

*FIRO Business version

Schutz says these interpersonal needs are as basic as our need for food, shelter and water.

The model scores you across these three areas, but crucially it breaks this down further into ‘Expressed Behaviours’ (what others see you displaying as your need) and ‘Wanted Behaviours’ (what you’d like to receive from others, but might be less visible).

Example: I got a score that is relatively high for Expressed Involvement but lower for Wanted Involvement. What this could mean is that I express visibly a need for involvement in group activities – that is what people are seeing, but my actual need for involvement is lower than this = potential mixed messages?

Aligning FIRO, MBTI and Leadership Development

Helpfully the FIRO model can be used alongside your existing MBTI learning because both MBTI and FIRO give you a perspective on your leadership behaviours that can be incredibility helpful in understanding how you interact with and affect those around you.

Both instruments tap into key aspects of personality and behavior in areas such as communication, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal relations. The instruments are also distinct, each providing a view of your leadership personality through a different window. Together, they complement each other and provide rich information of use in your personal, ongoing leadership development program. OPP Leadership Report using MBTI and FIRO. 

FIRO for Individuals and Teams

As with MBTI Step I & II, you can use FIRO to build self awareness in individuals and then use this to enable greater understanding of difference and similarities within teams.

More group work

If you would like to talk to me about FIRO and your development needs as a individual or your team call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-24-54Understanding the DNA of Personality Type and Leadership Development for Doctors

I’ve just returned from the annual Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Leaders in Heathcare 2016 conference. A key message from many of the speakers was that leadership development starts from within. Couldn’t agree more – but how do you do this if you haven’t the time or the resources to go on an expensive leadership development programme?

Senior Doctors told me at the conference that their leadership roles are often characterised by:

  • Not enough time to do it well
  • Imposter syndrome (feeling that you are promoted beyond your skill/capabilities)
  • Feeling isolated with insufficient support
  • Having to learn on the job (no or little training offered)
  • Expected to deliver far too quickly
  • Expected to deliver on things that are outside of your direct control
  • Lack of clarity over the role and scope of role much larger than anticipated

Through coaching doctors over the years I have found that enabling doctors to understand themselves (and the people around them) helps to manage some of these difficulties encountered in leadership roles. A great way of understanding behaviours, strengths and weaknesses is by using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It supports self awareness and strengthens leadership practice.

MBTI Step II takes self undestanding to a deeper level.  With step II you learn how your preferences for the Extrovert – Introvert, Sensing – iNtuition, Thinking – Feeling and Judging – Perceiving functions are affected by specific behavioural facets. Under each of the function pairs (e.g. E-I) sit ten facets of behaviours and Step II measures you against these. This allows people to see the subtly and complexity of what makes them tick and build a richer view of why they prefer different ways of doing things. This enables you to be more specific about how you want to develop.

You can read more about this when I wrote a blog for OPP (European administrators of MBTI) late last year HERE.

I’ve been using Step II for over a year now and have seen how the model can support people to review their approach to leadership and adapt their strengths to work more productively within the context they are operating in.

I’m delivering an open access course on the 6th December 2016 in London for FMLM. To find out how to book click HERE.

 

If you would like to talk over developing your leadership skills with MBTI Step II, call me on

0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com. 

 

 

 

If that is what I can achieve in five minutes, imagine what I can do in an hour.”

Above quote – participant of my recent workshop ‘Leadership and being a role model: decision making and taking responsibility’ for the FMLM.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 12.53.09If you have attended one of my workshops, you will be aware that I almost always use Nancy Kline‘s ‘Thinking Partnerships’ model in workshops. This technique gives people the opportunity to receive and give uninterrupted thinking time, a rarity.

These workshop moments (usually 5minutes) are welcomed, although the technique can take some getting used to. It is probably because our access to time to think is rapidly shrinking, partly because of the increased demands and expectations placed on us, but partly because technology has exposed us to being constantly connected so we don’t switch off, literally. I see this as a problem, not only for us in general, but in particular for our leadership practice.

The pace of work and pressures placed on people force us to do more, work harder and cram in extra hours. We actually don’t have time to think and whilst we can achieve a lot of activity, is it productive and sustainable? Only through stopping, reflecting and gaining perspective can we establish if we are being productive and supporting those around us. Reflection and gaining perspective are crucial to leadership practice – as one of my recent Doctors who completed a coaching programme with me highlighted. He is an incredibly busy man balancing his clinical commitments against his leadership priorities and a couple of his learning points were:

  1. Improved approach to prioritising what is important and what isn’t.
  2. Understanding that Leadership is often more about influencing others rather than telling them what to do.

He couldn’t have worked on these (and other areas) without time to think and his pre-coaching and post-coaching questionnaire highlighted his progress. Despite an incredibly turbulent year, he feels more resilient than a year ago because he has had time to think things through.

We need to get back into the habit of thinking well for ourselves.

A decent way to invest in your leadership practice would be to attend the Leaders in Healthcare conference 31.10.16 to 2.11.16 Liverpool.

I and other FMLM Coaches will be there and are running an exciting session on day one called ‘Coaching for leaders: A worthwhile investment?’ This will be highly interactive and you will have the chance to access learning through 8 executive coaches on a range of subjects.

I’ll be there on my table titled Time Management.

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If you would like time to think about your leadership development, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

Feedback on leadership and management skills is always valuable.

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One of the most powerful ways to assess your performance and development needs is to gain meaningful feedback from those with whom you work. This is particularly true for developing your leadership skills as these are often more complex to observe or measure, so gathering as much data as you can is important. And aligning this to decent leadership standards makes the process especially productive and relevant to medical leadership and management performance areas.

This can be useful when you are applying for a new job or role, planning your appraisal, CPD or considering a career change or transition.

I’ve started to recommend and use the recently launched FMLM 360 tool as this follows the FMLM Leadership Standards that have been specifically designed for medical leaders. These standards roughly fall into the three leadership areas of Self, Team Player/Leader and Organisational Responsibility and System Leadership. Also, the 360 tool allows you to register as – a team member, team leader, operational leader and strategic leader meaning that you can assess your leadership development at any stage in your medical career. Find out more about about FMLM 360 HERE (£72.00 including VAT).

The trick with feedback though is to turn the potential learning into action. I think reflection on the nature of the feedback, understanding the different perceptions, considering the themes that occur are important, but doing something about this is key. I often use the following questions when I receive feedback or when I’m supporting others to action plan on the back of 360 reports:

1. What is valuable to me and how can it make me more effective?

2. What are the benefits to me and those I work with?

3. What can I practically do to enact this learning?

4. Who can I share this with in order to help me or hold me to account?

Of course there may be feedback in the 360 report that you don’t agree with or may feel unfair. You may be right, but it is important to still reflect on the context, why someone may have viewed you or the situation in this way and what you can extract that is still of value to you.

If you would like to talk over your 360 report call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com. 

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. Bill Gates

The NHS cannot afford to let its junior workforce become disengaged. Wathes & Spurgeon. (FMLM pub.)

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I’ve been delivering leadership and management workshops for junior doctors over the last couple of months. It has given me fresh insight into the challenges faced by this part of the medical workforce and the personal pressures these dedicated people are facing.

A paper really worth reading on the engagement of junior doctors is recently published by the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM). You can download it from their website HERE.

A key finding in this exploratory study undertaken by Wathes and Spurgeon for the FMLM, is that the transitionary nature of junior doctors working lives is a key barrier to their engagement and involvement in service improvement. If you are only around for a few months (i.e. in your Foundation Training) how can you really be expected to be integrated thoroughly and therefore engaged meaningfully? However this unique perspective that junior doctors have of the service – seeing and experiencing many different approaches and ideas is worth harnessing and the energy and passion of juniors is always impressive.

However the government’s mishandling of the junior doctors contract has adversely affected this energy and passion, meaning that engaging and integrating junior doctors is going to be even more challenging in the future.

…their energy must be tapped not sapped .” Bruce Keogh.

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International Women’s Day 8th March 2016

Really enjoyed supporting the HSJ Women Leaders Network event which gave the opportunity for over 100 women to think about their current or future Board Level roles within healthcare.

CLICK HERE to see You Tube clip and hear coaches talking about how they work with people.

See more about the HSJ network – CLICK HERE

 

Leadership development is personal.

Learn

Historically we have assumed that Doctors were natural leaders and these non clinical skills were taken for granted. There is still very little leadership development embedded in medical education, although things are improving. So if you want to think strategically about your leadership skills what do you do? The following blog offers a way to reflect on your leadership growth.

My personal opinion based on working with many doctors over the years is that how you grow as a leader depends on who you are, what you have experienced and what your context for leadership is currently. That is why leadership programmes almost always use one to one coaching in their learning programme so that individuals can personalise and put the learning into practice.

Also, I believe leadership is about influence rather than control. You may be able to weld control over people if you are more senior, but its doesn’t mean you are leading them. People decide based on your behaviour as to whether they are willing to be led by you and consequently give you that extra effort.

So leadership is personal. It’s about you and your behaviour and you can lead from any position or situation. This is why leadership is relevant to you at any stage of your career, regardless of seniority and will continue to be a learning curve.

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However, there are so many leadership programmes and books out there, it is hard not to be phased by the size of the subject. But whilst theories about leadership abound, leadership is a practical endeavour.

A good place to start is to assess and reflect on what your current leadership challenge is and how you are doing.

 

Consider these questions.

  1. What do you want to achieve in leadership?
  2. Where are you now with this goal?
  3. What are your options?
  4. How committed are you to this plan and what are you going to do?

This may help you identify what kind of leadership development you need and how this relates directly to your circumstances. This development may come in the form of a book, course, buddying up with a colleague, mentorship or coaching, or taking on a new project/role.

But also ask yourself:

  1. What qualities and attributes do I possess that are important in leadership?
  2. What experiences have I had that are relevant?
  3. What is my current context and what opportunities do I have to have a positive influence?

This should help you consider your next move.

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If you would like to talk over your leadership development, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

Note: I would recommend you taking a look at the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) website for some excellent resources and courses.