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Green Templeton College | Oxford

MiM Word CloudChanging health care systems depend on strong organizational leadership that realizes the collaborative potential of both physician and non-physician leaders. A research team within the MiM programme, comprising Professor Sue Dopson, Dr Paul Brankin, Professor Timothy Hoff and Dr Mahima Mitra has recently published a paper in the Health Care Management Review focusing on this aspect of leadership within the NHS.

The paper, titled ‘Making sense of effective partnerships among senior leaders in the National Health Service’, sought insight into the everyday health care leader experience by examining 24 physician and non-physician leaders working in the U.K. National Health Service. It explored how these leaders make sense of and act with respect to specific collaborative tensions in their interactions, and which aspects of their everyday leadership contexts heightened the probability for producing and resolving such tensions.

In-depth interviews with senior leaders in job titles including Chief Operating Officer, Managing Director, Medical Director, and Clinical Director revealed four areas of ongoing tension between them. Each of these was linked to a set of underlying drivers, with the strongest support for drivers with interpersonal roots. Data analysis revealed that the most effective strategies for resolving tensions between leaders involved significant effort by them at improving the interpersonal dynamics associated with everyday interaction, and forging relational connections through enhanced trust within the leadership team.

These results indicate that health care leaders can benefit from gaining a higher degree of emotional intelligence through exposure to training, socialization, and ongoing experiences that allow them to learn valuable ‘soft’ interpersonal skills and competencies and apply them in appropriate ways.

The published-ahead-of-print version of the paper can be accessed online.