I was delighted to be able to catch up with Alison Lagier and talk about her 37 year career in the Welsh NHS. We discuss her early career as a mental health nurse, her time at the c-suite and her time as a primary care lead, and her experiences of being and working with self-aware, and some unaware, leaders!
Reflection in clinical practice: Clinician self awareness impacts on clinician behaviour and therefore clinician interactions with their patients. As a part of training, learning and development clinical supervision is a key component of identifying thoughts, beliefs and reflecting on behaviour and practice. Clinical supervision between clinician and supervisor establishes a habitual reflective practice that is equally valuable to non-clinical roles and can benefit any line management and matrix management functions. Once the practice has been established maintaining regularity becomes second nature.
Power and impact: Regardless of whether a strategic leader is comfortable and accepting of their position of power or not, others around them will behave in response to that perceived power. It is the role of that strategic leader to ensure that others’ perceptions do not become barriers to engagement and achieving goals. Leaders must be aware of their impact on others: just walking into a room has an impact. With awareness of impact comes the need to be adaptable, the need to listen and the need to have a genuine desire to understand other people’s points of view. Strategic leaders need to find a way to talk to colleagues about their goals and be aware of the impact of all of their behaviours in order to bring people along the journey with them. Always ask – what will be the impact on the patient? What will be the impact on the staff?
Unofficial influencers: The unofficial influencers, those without the leadership titles, can both help and derail the achievement of goals. They can be skilled at listening, speaking confidently, detangling others’ challenges and presenting challenges to others. They are often able to articulate issues on behalf of others. They have intuitive skills about bringing people together. As a strategic level manager and executive it’s Important to recognise these individuals and bring them along on the journey to achieving goals. It’s important to use the right people for the right job – find the people with the skills and give them the opportunity to lead and represent voices, teams and organisations.
Engage Everybody: Because feedback is filtered at the strategic level, those at that level need to actively seek feedback, opinions and views. Seeking advice from others is even more important because without having honest and unfiltered input you may not be able to achieve your goal and your plan might be simply underivable. Take others with you – a project might be longer in the planning but delivery will be more attainable and the process shorter. If you don’t, the planning may take a far shorter time, but the delivery will be fraught with problems and obstacles and you’ll have lots of unhappy people along the way.
To listen to our whole discussion, listen to Episode 7 of The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast