Leading to Change (and hope)

With increasing pressure on health, social care and social work sectors, the Scottish Government’s new Leading to Change programme is driving more compassionate and collaborative leadership, to improve wellbeing and bring hope to staff. This guest blog for the University of Strathclyde led Talking Hope project tells us more.

Good leadership that role models the values of kindness, compassion and collaborative working can help to improve the culture and the wellbeing of staff, which will ultimately lead to better care and outcomes for all those who use our public services.

The Scottish Government is acutely aware of the longstanding pressures faced by the health, social care and social work workforce – that have only been increased by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is why we have developed Leading to Change (L2C), our programme for driving more compassionate and collaborative leadership across health, social care and social work in the public, third and independent sectors. It is being delivered in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and key stakeholders across the sectors. Kind and compassionate leadership, that listens and fosters diverse, inclusive and positive workplace cultures, is crucial to improving staff hope and wellbeing and as a result, helps to deliver high quality care. It is simple: we all perform better at work when we feel supported and valued.

Launched in October 2022, Leading to Change will offer a range of leadership development opportunities, support and coaching for the three sectors. It is free at the point of use and aims to recognise and support leadership at all levels. The website holds all information relating to leadership offers, including events and coaching and mentoring opportunities. There is a series of blogs and a mini-site called Stories That Inspire Change where best practice and inspiring, real experiences are shared from individuals across the sectors.

Ultimately, we want to equip current and future leaders with the skills and capabilities they will need to enable compassionate and collaborative working and deliver whole-system transformational change against any challenges they may face. All the work we do will in turn assist with COVID recovery and wider systems change within their teams and organisations.

You may be familiar with Project Lift and may have accessed some of the support provided previously. Leading to Change builds on the work and ethos of Project Lift by being an actively compassionate, collaborative and inclusive programme of work with a strong focus on developing and supporting talent across health, social care and social work.

Diversity and inclusion are at the core of Leading to Change, with targeted interventions designed to increase the diversity of current and future leaders. We have created a range of targeted interventions that will look at, among other measures, embedding allyship, creating support networks across the three sectors, empowering and supporting line managers to support staff, and offering tailored support for minority ethnic staff such as coaching and mentoring. We also have a diversity blog series and a Diversity Coffee Connect programme where people can come together and connect to explore an equality, diversity and inclusion theme together through informal conversations.  We recognise that having a compassionate and inclusive leadership approach in workplaces has been proven to help create a wellbeing-centric work culture that could have significant benefits to the workforce, which includes staff retention.

You may be thinking “why is this being launched now, why this work and focus when we are facing multiple crises?”  The answer is simple. We know the health, social care and social work sectors are under tremendous pressure. We know how valued these sectors are and how important they are to Scotland. We want to ensure the people who work in these sectors feel valued and included. We need to create supportive environments for leaders at all levels to develop the skills and capabilities they need to lead through recovery and any other challenges we may face. We need to enable collaborative working environments that deliver whole-system culture change.

Leading to Change is committed to delivering a programme for leadership at all levels across health, social care and social work, consisting of a range of resources and programmes. Our programmes, interventions and opportunities will highlight our ethos of kind, compassionate and collaborative leadership that provides hope to the people working in the sectors.

In this increasingly complex world, leaders must examine the needs of staff, ensuring their wellbeing is a priority to help them deal with rapidly changing situations. Through developing more effective, compassionate and collaborative leadership at all levels we can create and sustain the conditions and culture that improves recruitment and retention, supports staff wellbeing, creates psychologically safe environments and enables a richness of talent and diversity across all sectors.

The Talking Hope website has just been launched as an example of a hope reservoir, including useful tools, quotes and stories to promote participation, leadership and hopeful transitions.

Find out more about Leading to Change

Website: leadingtochange.scot

Twitter: Follow @L2CScot

Facebook: Leading to Change

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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622


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