1 d’ag. 2023

Leadership skills necessary to improve coordination across primary, community, social and hospital services

The health needs of the population are changing, and many people need more co-ordinated care across primary, community, social and hospital services. More co-ordinated care requires organisations and staff to collaborate well across organisational and professional boundaries.

Effective working across organisations means adopting new practices to navigate challenges such as conflicting organisational goals, competing institutional norms and rules, and any perceived loss of power or resource.

The report conducted by Kings Fund draws on interview and survey data from senior leaders working in integrated care boards, NHS providers, local government and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, and shares insights and evidence about how to collaborate well.

The research shows health and care leaders at all levels have a critical role in modelling and rewarding collaborative behaviours but this is insufficient on its own. Leaders also need to pay attention to six leadership practices if they want to build a stronger collaborative ethos.
  1. Creating a safe, inclusive and trusting environment in which everyone can contribute fully – leaders need to look at problems from perspectives beyond their own. This means leaders need to be open and trusting, to connect with others and create different spaces in which people feel safe to contribute and be heard; to listen to and value others’ contributions and ensure others do the same. 
  2. Building healthy relationships – this requires sustained effort but adopting a more relational way of working based on humility, respect and trust strengthens connections between organisations and individuals leading to increased staff engagement and more co-ordinated services.
  3. Developing a shared purpose and shared group identity. It is important to clearly set out the shared purpose around why organisations or/and professional groups are working together and create a shared group identity to promote engagement across the collaboration and to address any power differentials
  4. Actively managing any power dynamics – so no organisation or professional group dominates. Introducing processes that create a more open and participatory environment can also be useful to enable individuals to think differently. 
  5. Surfacing and managing any conflict – in collaborations you are working with different views and ideas, sometimes these will turn into conflict. It is important to approach any conflict with an open and curious mind, rather than turning away from it. 
  6. Developing shared decision-making processes – designing transparent processes that enable all key organisations or groups to contribute to a decision produces a range of benefits, although it takes longer. Benefits include greater ownership over the decisions adopted and strengthening trust across a collaborating group.
This style of working is hard especially in a resource-constrained environment. The report recommend leaders give greater attention to designing more participatory processes and developing the collaborative skills of other groups of staff. Also recommend leaders extend the practice of collaborative leadership to work with a broader range of local organisations as well as local communities.

Access: Article (pdf)

Photo Jordi Soldevila. Retrat de família. Homenatge a Toni Catany