With the NHS having undergone so many changes in recent years, and with more changes likely in the future, it is more important than ever for GPs to be able to show good leadership when working in general practices.
The benefits of good leadership
Good leadership leads to many benefits including better teamwork, improved patient experience and improved patient outcomes as well as cost-savings. The CQC has stated that good leadership is a must for delivering high-quality care to patients, and assesses the quality of leadership during its inspections.
Developing leadership skills takes time
While some practitioners may come by them naturally, most will need to work to develop leadership skills and the confidence to use them: especially trainees who may not be comfortable challenging more established practitioners.
Developing good leadership skills, however, takes time and effort, and time can be in short supply when working in general practice. One way to find the time might be to use a locum to cover hours required for training or studying. GP locum jobs are filled by qualified and fully vetted doctors and sourced through companies such as http://www.thegplocumagency.co.uk/.
How to develop good leadership skills
There are a number of ways you can develop your leadership skills. The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, for example, has standards against which you can measure your skill levels or those of others in your practice. By self-assessing your skills, you increase self-awareness and are better able to identify areas for improvement.
You might also want to think about finding a mentor, someone whose leadership and management skills you want to emulate. Mentors can help you understand how their behaviour has a positive impact on services and challenge you to think about your own ways of working.
They should also encourage you to take on more responsibility in order to develop your leadership skills. You might chair a meeting, volunteer to be part of working groups, or act as a point of contact for patients in your practice. Another option is attending conferences and other events where you can listen and speak to leaders in the field.
All of these will help build your confidence in your leadership skills, challenge existing ways of working and lead to changes that improve patient care and deliver efficiencies within healthcare.