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The practice of system leadership


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The practice of system leadership

System leaders often do not see themselves as such, believing that any successes they achieve are due to working behind the scenes rather than leading from the front. But given the unprecedented challenges facing the NHS, the system needs leaders who can motivate staff and managers to work differently, across service and organisational boundaries.

That is the only way to meet the needs of the growing number of people with complex and long-term conditions, many of whom rely on care and support from different services.

This report published by the King's Fund draws on the experiences of ten senior leaders to look in depth at the skills needed to be a system leader. The ten individuals are from different backgrounds and work in different contexts, and give some very candid reflections on their successes and failures. But they share a track record of having tried to bring about change (not always successfully) through using ‘soft’ power, enabling others to see and deliver the changes that are needed.