Compassionate and Inclusive Leadership Resource

Compassionate and Inclusive Leadership

We all want to feel valued, supported and enabled to do our best work. Sometimes we have cultures and micro cultures in our organisations that don’t fully support that. Compassionate and inclusive leadership is embedded in high quality, high performing systems and drives improvement in their overall performance, meaning better outcomes for patients, better population health and better value for money. 

Leaders who model compassion, inclusion and a focus on improvement are key to creating cultures where diversity is valued, people feel they belong and are empowered to deliver great care and patient experience, whatever kind of health and social care organisation they work in. Compassionate and inclusive leadership creates an environment where there is no bullying, and where learning and quality improvement become the norm. 

Continuous improvement depends on staff feeling safe and empowered to improve services using tried and tested improvement approaches in partnership with patients, families and communities. Where leaders act with compassion, staff feel valued, engaged and enabled to show compassion themselves. They feel obliged to speak up when something is wrong and empowered to continuously improve. 

Compassionate leaders take a genuine interest in their staff, value diversity, take time to listen and be with their staff, respond empathetically and are prepared to do something to alleviate distress. They are also the leaders who will be able to share their vision and inspire others to work together to ensure that care is safe, effective, humane, and good value for money. 

This guidance is designed to help senior leaders, in NHS organisations who provide services to the NHS, develop a culture where: 

  • leaders and managers encourage workers to speak up 
  • where matters raised by workers drive learning and improvement 

Each video raises valuable insights for organisations and leaders to consider when reviewing freedom to speak up arrangements and the podcasts cover developing inclusive speak up cultures.

Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, CEO, writer, university lecturer and keynote speaker. She has thought a lot about whistleblowing, and why companies don’t respond well to it. She wrote the book ‘Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril’. In this podcast she talks about how poor culture and groupthink lead to a scenario where whistleblowers are ignored, and why the NHS needs to change the way it treats people who try and call out poor care. 

‘If we want to create cultures of high-quality compassionate care, then we need to have leaders who embody the value of compassion as part of their continually improving, high quality leadership.’ 

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Designed to help you to develop and implement collective leadership strategies, resulting in a culture that delivers high quality, continuously improving, compassionate care. 

NHS Employers have a range of resources to support staff engagement. Employee engagement and leadership style go hand in hand – what employees describe as ‘good leaders’ produce committed, engaged and productive employees.