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10 July 2012
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The Effective Leadership Environment

Quite recently, I was giving a lecture at the International Conference on Emergency Medicine in Dublin relating to 'effective environments' in the workplace. For that particular conference, I chose to focus on the educational aspects of an effective workplace, but the same approach can be employed to the leadership environment in which we work.

I'm not talking about a head-count of how many clinicians at your organisation have obtained an MBA, nor how often the Medical Director brings up the topic of (lack of) medical leadership at business group meetings. No, here I'm thinking more of the ways in which we all interact to engender a an effective leadership environment day to day.

Environment? What does that mean? Well, for me, an environment constitutes the living materials who inhabit it, the air they breathe and the food they eat. In the workplace, we are those living materials! Doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, everyone. The air we breathe is, for sure, often air conditioned, but keeps us alive, so let's keep it invigorating by filling it with ideas about making our professional lives better through the encouragement of leadership from everyone we encounter. Listen to those with novel thoughts. Respect the slightest of comments, and hunt out the sparks of originality. Nine of every ten leadership ideas you breathe in will be lost through aerobic respiration, but one will stick and help fortify your corpuscles! Breathe out the leadership waste gases, and someone somewhere will re-inhale what passed you by and will find a new angle on what you thought was an irrelevant idea.

The foods we eat are - in non cannibalistic terms - the patients we serve.  Use them to give yourself energy but remember that the feedback they give you about your professional practice and that of your hospital or surgery is the vitamins and minerals which keep your leadership potential alive and in growth mode.

And so, through nurturing an effective leadership environment at work, we live, breathe, eat and - yes - even excrete leadership ideas and nuggets. Look after and respect your leadership environment and it will be a healthy and exciting place in which to live for year to come.

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About the author

Darren Kilroy's picture

Darren Kilroy

Darren Kilroy FCEM M.Ed. Ph.D. is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine in Cheshire, and Director for Network Leadership and Development in Unscheduled Care. He is also Hon. Senior Lecturer in Emergency Care at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Clinical Lead for Unscheduled Care at NHS Stockport. His main areas of interest are the challenges of clinical and managerial engagement around emergent clinical commissioning models, and the role of clinical leadership within transformational change.


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