Exploring Courageous Leadership

Written by: Sarah Forster, Academy Programme Manager, the ALLIANCE

Published: 15/04/2019

Graphic containing outlines of people in different colours, with the caption 'Unleashing courageous leadership at every age'

Sarah discusses the recent Academy, SSSC and CCPS events which explored transformation of health and social care services.

The Health and Social Care Academy co-created ‘Five Provocations for the Future of Health and Social Care’ (courageous leadership, nurturing transformation, emphasising humanity, target culture and ceding power) through a Think Tank that brought together a cross section of Scottish society including third and independent sector leaders; leaders from across the public sector and people who use health and social care services.

The Academy was challenged to identify and establish mechanisms through which we could translate these Five Provocations into actions that will change policy and practice and improve the experience of those who receive or provide care and support. Initially I considered developing a ‘Framework’ for each of the Provocations, however, I quickly realised that there is no single way to be for example a courageous leader. Additionally, it felt important that exploring what the Five Provocations could look like in practice be co-produced.

We decided to start with Courageous Leadership and invited the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) (this link will take you away from our website) and the Coalition of Care and Support Providers (CCPS) (this link will take you away from our website) to work in partnership with us. An event, ‘Unleashing Courageous Leadership at Every Age’ was organised as part of the Scottish Government Firestarter Festival and brought together a wide range of young people who were disabled, living with long term conditions and unpaid carers. There were speeches from inspiring young people and group conversations focused on drawing out the key characteristics that make a courageous leader. Themes from the evening included the need to use leadership to challenge in a positive way; the need to empower and represent others; a willingness to make unpopular decisions and values based leadership.

Our second event, ‘Unleashing Courageous Leadership at Every Age: Women in Leadership, 100 years on’ brought together a group of inspiring women who shared their perspectives on what a courageous leader looks like. A defining characteristic for me was the passion all the speakers displayed, highlighting the need for drive and persistence, always striving for the best, alongside being vulnerable and honest.

Our third and final event examined ‘Why is courage important for health and social care?’ The Academy’s Five Provocations state that ‘To create a health and social care system that enables Scotland to thrive, we need people who are willing to take brave decisions that are ultimately rooted in their values and the values of Scottish society.’ Participants discussed what they would do differently and this included being ‘more visible and promoting values based thinking and questioning; ‘listening’ more and ‘remember the human touch and value’.

You can now read the report  that we have produced which explores Courageous Leadership in more detail following the events.

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