ghp September 2015 | 65 health and social care Yet absenteeism is still high, stress is still high and whistleblowing rears its head from time to time. IDENTIFYING THE CHALLENGE IN THE NHS However we look at it, most staff would seem to love the caring for patients side of their job but we cannot ignore the fact that there are three commonly quoted areas of discontent, each of which could be signifi- cantly eased with a different approach. They are: 1. Management Style 2. Paperwork 3. Stress MANAGEMENT STYLE When I think back to the various managers I have had during my career, I have to say they were a mixed bunch! Of course, the way I’m assessing their success – or not – is by how happy I was in the job: how motivated I was, how optimistic I was, how much I had the opportunity to learn, how supported I felt, how much I belonged to my team and how much I looked forward to going to work. I would say that some of the managers were good (i.e. met my needs) and some weren’t. But this is fearsomely subjective. After all, the list of what might make me happy and content at work is likely to be quite different from what would make an- other person feel that way. And unfortunately we don’t come with a User Guide! PAPERWORK It is a fact that some people are better at paperwork than others. It is also a fact that notes have to be written up. But speaking to many people in the NHS, I’m not convinced that paperwork per se is the issue. I think there are two competing problems here. The first is Time (or most usually the lack of time) to enter the information into the system. The other is a heart- felt Incongruence , where professionals are utterly torn between completing paperwork and seeing clients. STRESS This is still causing huge problems in both the deliv- ery of care and also the cost of covering absentee- ism – not to mention the opportunity for some of the Press to exploit the new and creative ways that are being adopted to ease the pressure! The opposite of Stress is Flow. Personal flow comes from following your natural path. Team momentum comes from each team member following his or her natural path. A team member out of their flow - or managed in a way that is outside their preference – is likely to experience stress. At the risk of being controversial, much of the stress could easily be lifted. FILLING THE GAP I’m going to present an idea that may sound familiar, but we are going to look at it differently here. That idea is one of Accessible Leadership from all management levels right down to the Team Leaders. If we go back to my previous managers, you’ll remember that I gauged their success by how happy I was at work; and the challenge is that many people in the NHS are not happy at work. So I decided to unpack what one of my particularly ‘good’ managers – we’ll call him Barry – did and how he did it. Firstly, he consistently adopted good management practice whereby I bought into and was excited by his vision for the team, understood how my role fitted in and supported both his vision and the rest of the team. Secondly, Barry had a unique (in my experience) ability to bond with his reports both separately and as a team, so that each of us trusted him and pulled together to meet targets and fulfill the vision. We did work hard. We did enjoy it. And there was very little absenteeism as we wanted to come to work. People skills are of course valued in management. But how do you transport standard management practice to a level of Leadership Expertise that will unleash momentum and performance? “Managers Solve Problems, Leaders Create Momentum” - John C Maxwell ACCESSIBLE LEADERSHIP Anyone managing or leading a team is only too aware that that we’re all different. Now, different can be good, but it can also mean that people face elements of their job where they struggle to deliver and are not happy. Yet in other parts of their job, these very same people will do amazing things with consummate ease and enjoyment. A good example of this is paperwork. Right back to the days of Aristotle, it has been acknowledged that individuals are different in four specific ways: Thinking – which can be Intuitive or Sensory, and Action – we are predominantly Introvert or Extrovert. Leadership is a priority for the NHS as evidenced by the last 10 years’ rise in management positions to 1.4 million. There have also been massive changes post Francis Report, with the areas of wellbeing, mindfulness and making people “want to change” being particularly topical.