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Developing collective leadership for health care

•• The most important determinant of the development and maintenance of an organisation’s culture is current and future leadership. Every interaction by every leader at every level shapes the emerging culture of an organisation.
•• Boards are responsible for ensuring their organisation develops a coherent, effective and forward-looking collective leadership strategy for their organisation and assuring themselves that it is implemented. This strategy comes from purposefully describing the leadership culture desired for
that organisation.
•• Collective leadership means everyone taking responsibility for the success of the organisation as a whole – not just for their own jobs or work area. This contrasts with traditional approaches to leadership, which have focused on developing individual capability while neglecting the need for developing collective capability or embedding the development of leaders within the context of the organisation they are working in.
•• Collective leadership cultures are characterised by all staff focusing on continual learning and, through this, on the improvement of patient care. It requires high levels of dialogue, debate and discussion to achieve shared understanding about quality problems and solutions.
•• Leaders need to ensure that all staff adopt leadership roles in their work and take individual and collective responsibility for delivering safe, effective, highquality and compassionate care for patients and service users. Achieving this requires careful planning, persistent commitment and a constant focus on nurturing leadership and culture.