Monday, 20 February 2017

Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme - One year on

The pilot of the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme is now over and it has been a very interesting journey. It was delivered based on the model of the CILIP Leadership Programme but tailored specifically for healthcare librarians, information and knowledge specialists. It had a cohort of 24 participants split into four project groups. Participants were encouraged to complete the Leadership aspect of the CILIP PKSB to identify skills that might need cultivating or improvement both before and after the programme. We were also required to attend a number of compulsory elements which were held at various locations in England.

Discussions, Webinars, and Workshops
We used the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) portion of the CILIP website to complete activities on leading others and one's self. Some of the topics raised in discussions include leadership, management, the impact toolkit, and networking skills. There were also webinars on leadership theories and approaches, people management, strategic thinking and planning, stakeholder analysis and engagement, project management, and elevator pitches. I found all these very fast paced especially as you try to incorporate it into your daily tasks. It helped that there were no deadlines for specific tasks and I did find it useful to come up with my elevator pitch for varying stakeholders. There were also a series of workshops all participants were required to attend which covered topics such as the introduction to leadership, different leadership styles and the situations in which they are used, communication, and change management.

Action Learning Sets (ALS)
The action learning sets were split into individual project teams. I learnt a lot about coaching and mentoring which serves me when I conduct one-to-one's with colleagues. I also learnt a lot about myself, my hopes, dreams, aspirations and most especially what I did not want for my professional career. It allowed me to share my anxieties in a safe environment and reflect on actions that I might be able to pursue to assuage them. I was also able to offer my support to colleagues and improve my listening skills. I honestly consider it to be the aspect of the course that I looked forward to the most and my team have decided to keep having them even though the programme is over.

The project I was assigned to involved the preparation, distribution, collation, and analysis of a survey of the development needs of health library staff. The other projects were:
  • Collaborative working across HEE Midlands and the East
  • Identifying the skills base for innovators: a knowledge management initiative for LKS staff to enableknowledge sharing to drive innovation at the Trust level
  • LQAF Peer Review in HEE East Midlands to contribute to the development of a national approach
My team started our project by ascertaining what the expectations were and investigating existing literature and the results from previous surveys. The responsibility for managing the project was split equally between members of the team and rotated as agreed. We were spread across England but with the help of teleconferences, webex and email, we were able to maintain a smooth flow of communication.

We piloted the survey with colleagues before rolling it out in December. It was closed in January and we were able to collect 758 responses. The analysis of the results is currently being carried out. We hope the report will help inform the direction of professional development for health library staff across England. It was a good opportunity to work efficiently with others towards a common goal by sharing ideas and responsibilities.
My wonderful project team

The programme has brought to the forefront of my mind that leading is not just about managing people but also being productive, improving one's self, reflecting on what you learn, and most of all contributing to the wider profession. It has afforded me the opportunity to foster lasting relationships with colleagues from various geographical locations. I have learnt so much and gained more confidence in my own leadership abilities. I have finally turned to the PKSB to identify gaps in my skill set, consider future career prospects and I also consider it a useful tool when completing my Revalidation.

With the support, understanding and encouragement of my project team and our facilitator, Jo Alcock, I was able to pursue a different role and move cities with a one and seven year old during the course of the programme. I hope this post goes some way in demystifying perceptions of what is expected of participants. Whatever your situation, I strongly recommend it as a positive career move. Whether you are wondering if you are suitably qualified or you have pressing family commitments, my advice is to apply.