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Leadership Newsletter #148

Christmas Reflections from Healthskills

Christmas tree

After such a challenging and difficult year for many, Healthskills would like to wish all our clients, programme participants and leaders everywhere a happy and safe Christmas, however you are able to celebrate, and our very best wishes at this festive time.

This year, I and my colleagues offer our reflections as 2021 comes to a close, our thoughts on what we are taking from this year into 2022, and our hopes, opportunities and ideas that may help you with your challenges in the new year.

From Mark Greenfield:
The recollection from this turbulent year that resonates most with me is the power of human connections.  As groups of individuals and teams have started to meet again face to face during the latter half of 2021, I’ve been struck by how significant opportunities to Reconnect, Reflect and Recharge have become.
Reconnecting – and for many individuals, actually meeting colleagues for the first time and have space to catch up, get to know each other better and reconnect with their aspirations as a team;
Reflect – reflect on and share experiences over the past 18 months, think about individual and shared journeys, look ahead to how they work together and agree common purpose and shared priorities;
Recharge – have some time to just enjoy being together, unwind, have fun, and explore new ways of working that help them to have fulfilling working lives.
Whilst our natural default is often to get on with the day job, ‘business as usual’ (whatever that is!), making it a team discipline to take time out every now and then to Reconnect, Reflect and Recharge is a sure-fire way to accelerate your progress towards becoming a high-performing team.  
Wishing you all a merry Christmas and happy, healthy New Year.

From Dawn Scott:
At this time of year, it’s always a habit of mine to reflect back on what 2021 brought into our lives and it is fair to say that it has felt like another rollercoaster ride.  The way we live and work I think has changed irrevocably and I find myself settling for more home and a lot less travel, which at my age is not such a bad thing and certainly doing the motorway fraternity a favour.

As I write this, I’m noticing that my heart is heavy for all of our friends and colleagues in the NHS.  This year marked my 40th anniversary of NHS association – over 20 years as an employee and another 20 years working as an external consultant.  I have many longstanding friends and clients who right now are on their knees.  Recent announcements to ramp up the vaccine programme with little notice could well have produced a rebuttal from a disillusioned workforce, but as ever when duty calls the NHS steps up. 

Despite the incredible pressure that the pandemic has produced for all parts of the service and the impact of winter and funding constraints, clinicians and their teams are cancelling Christmas to vaccinate the population to keep them safe.  Spare a special thought for our CCG colleagues who are having to wind down their organisations before being replaced by Integrated Care Systems, whilst supporting primary care to work 24/7 on the vaccination programme.  Many of the senior leaders we have worked with over the last 18 months don’t even know whether they will have a job in the new organisations.  That for me is going above and beyond the call of duty.

It is to them all that I raise a glass this Christmas and pay tribute to their leadership in the face of such adversity; It has been a privilege to work with NHS teams this year. I wish them and you and your families a special Christmas and hope that 2022 brings you good health and less stress.

Much Love to all

From Bob Baker:
Goodbye 2021, I won't be raising much of a glass to you........

Three things have stuck with me over the past year.  Firstly (and I need to get political here), how the mantra of walking the walk as a leader (known as Modelling the Way in Kouzes & Posner's 5 Leadership Practices model) appears to have often been ignored by government leaders and one individual in particular?!!  This is not only poor leadership but affects the way that government messages are interpreted and received by the electorate.

Secondly, I continue to be grateful (more than ever in these continuingly uncertain times) for old and new friends and family who listen to my musings and ramblings. I've always considered myself tolerant of - indeed almost embracing - ambiguity but I'm at a place now where some certainty and routine would be welcome - in the meantime thanks to those that help me navigate the weeks and months ...

Thirdly, I have done some work with those leading in some of the Vaccination Centres during the year and I am in awe of their fortitude and positive attitude in spite of ever-changing priorities and demands. 

From Mike Nelson:
I look back on 2021 as a series of hopes and setbacks; as the vaccine rollout in the spring took on momentum, the return of personal freedoms and business re-growth was very encouraging, and I started to feel the hope generated by this. Subsequent waves of the changing fortunes with emerging variants have come as a series of setbacks which, looking back over 2021 is rather akin to the most intense of rollercoasters.

Over the year I’ve learned the value of positive, solution-based thinking, to tackle each new setback with some thoughtfulness about how to deal and keep momentum in the light of the turbulence. Mindfulness has become more of a way of life and is proving valuable to stay on the rails of the roller coaster.

Tip – I’ve learned not to ‘soak’ in the media outpourings; the 24-hour, sensation-hungry press, constantly looking for the next scare story and usually conflating fact with speculation. I’ve discovered that the best way to stay resilient in the face of this is to not take this in and feel better off without dwelling on the hype and fearmongering, generated by this avaricious press culture.

From Ian Munro:
Traditionally I am not great at looking back as I am always eager to find out what is around the corner.  The past year - and the one before are the most unusual ones in my life so far.

Normally we have the wheels rolling in the direction we want to go but last year felt that someone else had their hand on the steering wheel, pulling us towards the kerb and ultimately stopping us. It was as if I was no longer in charge of my direction. Traditionally life rolls on irrespective of most things and gradually I realised we were just not going our own way.

Last year saw so many rules and regulations imposed on us that on occasion it pulled even me to a stop, wondering which of the four directions I should follow. This is absolutely not a political statement because I realised, we all seemed to be in the same boat irrespective of our roles in society.

I believe on reflection, that from the most senior in the land to the most lowly - like me - we all lost a big piece of the control mechanisms that are part of our everyday life. Some coped well, others staggered about but many tripped up and had to be picked up and brushed down.

The silver lining to this cloud is that many of us became more flexible about how we conducted our life which in turn has made is more resilient and adaptable to change. As we move into 2022 the situation will not suddenly change.  I am hoping that based on recent experiences we will be much better at wrenching back control of the steering wheel whilst helping those who are parked at the side of the road to find their sense of direction.

And finally …
We are donating to a local charity this year as always, instead of sending Christmas cards.  For 2021, Healthskills is delighted to support FareShare, the UK’s longest running food redistribution charity:  FareShare is the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, made up of 18 independent organisations. Together, they take good quality surplus food from right across the food industry and get it to more than 10,500 frontline charities and community groups.
Thank you as always for your continued support for Healthskills, and hope that we have been able to help you in some small way with the personal and professional challenges you have faced this year.   Here’s hoping that 2022 will bring health and happiness for you all.



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Healthskills is a licensed Business Practitioner for Motivational Maps™

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