Region of Östergötland: Leadership in healthcare (LiV)

What did we want to do?

“In our profession you’re regarded as a junior for a long time, in spite of the long period of training*. You need a great deal of knowledge and experience: an ability to weigh up the various factors involved and make the best possible decision – often under time pressure. We invest heavily in management development for our doctors. The main aim is to improve management at ‘shop floor’ level. Here, the management process must be clear: doctors must interpret and issue guidelines; listen to patients’ care needs, discuss with their colleagues, see the bigger picture and make decisions. Sensitivity is also needed to step into and out of a management role in respect of colleagues of a similar level. Move’s management development program for specialist doctors, Leadership in Healthcare (ST-LiV), is classed as specialist training, and we like our specialist doctors to complete it as soon as they can.”

What did we do (in conjunction with Move)?

“Move are professionals, and we’ve been working in partnership with them since early 2008. They adopt an experience based approach, which gives people skills and helps our doctors in their day-to-day work: for example, how to give both easy and difficult feedback, coach staff, chair a good meeting and influence others. It’s all about being clear in your role as a manager, through the expectations you have and the way you communicate.

Move’s trainers create an atmosphere of serenity and security in difficult situations, which helps participants understand and question themselves and their reactions. This is crucial if the training is to have the desired effect. Move also helps by providing an insight into the ”outside world” – it’s interesting to work with a company that works with other county councils. The trainer and I have also developed those parts of the training which aim to increase participants’ understanding of their own organization, including spending time with a business manager and the chief executive of the county council or the HR director. Move have helped us find a good way of doing this and the partnership has been very successful.

Move are responsible for all our management training around specialist doctors, i.e. both the specialist doctors themselves and their directors of studies and supervisors. In the case of the latter, the aim is to improve communication and feedback, because supervision of younger colleagues is also a form of leadership. We believe it’s beneficial to bring in external trainers in this field, and we think it’s good that the training is delivered on neutral ground. The employer isn’t ‘looking over your shoulder’. Trust is placed in the employee: Develop yourself!”

What was the result?

“Move help us to question the way we do things, to see strengths and weaknesses in both ourselves and in the complex system which a healthcare organization represents. This helps our doctors to play their role as doctors to the full and to provide care, which is as intelligent and efficient as it can be. Many participants have thanked us for allowing them to take part in this training. Whilst it is highly regarded, the training is also demanding and challenging and has an impact on the participants – not just as managers but also as people. Many of them are influenced by it and improve their ability to manage through the insights, tools and skills they take with them from the training. We implemented a structured evaluation process as part of the last tender, and this indicated that the participants themselves believed that they had changed the way they did things. In my view, the greatest benefit is the understanding of the importance of clear leadership and clear communication. It’s also an advantage that all our management development programs use the same concepts and approach. This gives us a common language for leadership and a common culture, which is a good platform for development.”

– Maria Randjelovic, Overall Director of Studies (Specialist doctors programme), Region of Östergötland

*Doctors do 5.5 years at medical school, 2 years of general training and 5 years of supervised specialist training.