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  • Igniting your inner spirit – a blog by Sally Howard

    Sally Howard
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    NHS and social care continues to have significant challenges. This blog cannot change that but it offers food for thought on how to stay afloat. 


    It’s been a while since I have posted a blog. I continue to coach NHS colleagues – their calmness, focus, resilience, professionalism and ‘can do’ shining through in spades. Inspirational, appreciative leaders of teams, small and large.

    Our current systems and challenges are too complex to have one person at the helm taking all the decisions. We need leadership at all levels. Great leaders inspire people to have confidence in themselves.

    Whether you are part of a team, a team leader or leader of many, here’s four things to contemplate:

    1. Reality check

    The Covid aftermath, understandable unrest and general distress and frustration have impacted, of course they have, but we have a dedicated, professional, caring workforce.

    2. The power of appreciation

    Take a moment to identify and reflect on your contributions and those of your colleagues. Appreciate those contributions. Make time to share them with each other. Individually and collectively feel proud.

    3. Strengthen your resilience

    I can’t remember where I read this, but a simple way to focus the mind and build your resilience is to start each day with this simple reminder:

    • I am … add in the words that best describe your talent and experience.
    • I have … add in things that support and energise you at work and home.
    • I will ………..your intentions for that day, this week.

    4. Look out for each other

    Tune in. Sometimes we just want someone who will listen, a space to talk to a colleague, friend, coach, mentor. If you don’t already have this, think about who could help. In my experience, how we care for each other and appreciate our respective contributions helps to sustain us on the brightest days and the not so bright.

    Thanks for reading this. I have used this quote before but it seems apposite just now:

    "She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails." Elizabeth Edwards.

    Further blogs from Sally:

    About the Author

    Sally has held national and local leadership roles within the NHS in a career spanning more than 30 years. A respected leader, passionate about improvement and inclusivity, she is trained in quality improvement methodologies and has spent the last 20 years in their practical application.

    She is also a practising coach because its rarely just about the ‘what’ you do, it’s also ‘the way that you do it’. She works with leaders of small and large teams as a thinking partner to help them be their ‘best selves’ at work: 

    • offering both challenge and support
    • encouraging curiosity and bravery
    • building confidence and resilience – few improvement journeys are plain sailing
    • and sharing a few improvement tools along the way.

    She has run collaborative improvement programmes nationally, worked with organisations facing significant challenge and over the last 2 years on the roll out of the Patient First Improvement System in Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, melding it with work that had gone before, working intensively with wards and departments to build a culture of continuous improvement. 

    She has also worked as an Investigating Officer for the Office of the Health Service Commissioner and experienced the ‘great’ and the ‘not so great’ as a carer for her own family.

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