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If you allowed this to happen what kind of leader would you be?

If you allowed this to happen what kind of leader would you be?

The NHS is the best health service in the world.  Fact.  That’s not simply an opinion – last year an international panel of experts rated its care as superior to countries spending far more on health.

Today I had the privilege of running a leadership master class for NHS Scotland. They were engaged, challenging and appreciative – a pleasure to work with. Yet I couldn’t help but notice a sense of exhaustion. 

I know NHS demand far outstrips the available resource so the exhaustion is no surprise. But there was more to it than that. At the start of the day they were passionate but they weren’t proud. They were enthusiastic but not effervescent. They were interested but not inspired.

Why? How can the best health service in the world possibly not feel proud, effervescent and inspired?

Pick up a newspaper and the answer is staring you in the face.

For some unknown reason the media appear to believe knocking the NHS down is part of their national obligation. Reports about hospital failures, ethical violations, lack of NHS care and compassion abound. In fact, I defy you to buy a newspaper that does not contain a pop at the NHS somewhere within it’s pages. No wonder NHS pride, effervescence and inspiration has taken a bashing.

We could all share few NHS horror stories – but how many of us share NHS success stories? So many lives saved. So many lives transformed. So much to say and yet so little said.

My challenge to you is to redress the balance. The NHS is the best health service in the world and whilst they work tirelessly to save us we have in turn failed them - by letting them think they are the ones who failed.

This week they needed reminding just how brilliant they are. You can do the same. Whether it’s saying great things about them behind their back, putting out positive social media posts or taking an opportunity to speak with an NHS employee directly – remind them they are the best health service in the world. Why? Because however good they are, psychic powers is just not a strength they can claim. Tell them. Help them walk tall and proud of the difference they make day after day after day.

Many will have already identified the leadership principle here. If not, just imagine that the NHS was one of your employees. A star player – but one who was all too used to hearing they are a failure.

If you allowed this to happen in your own team what kind of leader would you be?

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