Stepping Out of the Mêlée; Gaining New Perspective
The Festive and New Year holidays seem an age ago. This is not an unusual February feeling for many (me included) but, as I hear from those across the system of services to the public about the edge of chaos at which they now routinely feel they are working, that brief period of respite feels more distant than ever in 2023. Throughout many of my conversations early this year, a pervading theme has been clear – and that is, put simply: everyone is under pressure: for their time; for their problem-solving skills; for their alacrity; for their resilience – and, above all, for their steadfast and reassuring leadership.
It is usually unfair to single out any individual sector or organisation for particular attention, as this is an ecosystem where the conditions in every sub-set of it are impacting on the whole, but the situation in the health and social care space is illustrative of the wider situation. NHS chief executives reading at least half-hourly the wait times for ambulances and in A&E on the new software recently installed on their mobile devices; local government leaders, chief executives, DCSs and DASSs asking themselves where their – or their commissioned – care workforce has gone; trade unionists making the case for better pay and conditions for their members and taking industrial action in the absence of resolution; and Government holding emergency summits (sans all the players) as “distress” potentially turns to crisis. I could easily add so much more.
And all this activity is, it seems, driving more and more short-termism – the urgent and the important conflated into the simple imperative of “sort it out today!!!”
So, what should we, the Leadership Centre, do to help? Well, time and again, those leading in these complex and challenging environments recognise that they need to step out of the mêlée from time-to-time – for respite, of course (this is bloody hard work); but also because they want to get back up to the viewing point, observe the whole of the landscape before them and … think.
And that is where we come in: the Centre exists to enable leadership to flourish so that outcomes for communities can be improved. We can – and do – provide that oasis of a calm, reflective space. But, we can also support, stimulate and constructively challenge the thinking of those in active leadership roles as they step back and take stock and consider what else they need to flourish in these most demanding and difficult of times. So, let’s help them do just that: reach out and make that offer.