This paper from the King's Fund looks at compassion - which involves attending, understanding, empathising and helping - as a core cultural value of the NHS and how compassionate leadership results in a working environment that encourages people to find new and improved ways of doing things.
It also describes four key elements of a culture for innovative, high-quality and continually improving care and what they mean for patients, staff and the wider organisation:
- inspiring vision and strategy
- positive inclusion and participation
- enthusiastic team and cross-boundary working
- support and autonomy for staff to innovate.
The paper also presents case studies of how compassionate leadership has led to innovation. This work was supported by the Health Foundation.
- Compassionate leadership activities have many positive outcomes, at all levels of the health sector, from individuals and teams, to organisations and the system as a whole.
- Staff are more likely to find new and improved ways of doing things if they feel they are listened to, valued and supported as this provides a sense of psychological safety.
- Giving staff autonomy in their work is also important, along with developing a shared responsibility – a shared leadership is much more effective than a hierarchical one.
- Positive attitudes to diversity, to inclusion and to creativity and innovation must be nurtured at every level of the organisation.
- Innovation is often spurred by a challenge or a problem and compassionate leadership is a powerful facilitator at each stage of the problem-solving process.