Values driven leadership

A presentation on how one organisation achieved major savings and introduced an effective performance management process on the back of the ‘Croke Park’ Agreement reforms was given to the 9th National Health Summit in Dublin by employment specialist, Gerald Flynn. Maureen Browne reports.

Gerald Flynn, an employment specialist with Align Management Solutions in Dublin, detailed the successful ‘Values-Driven Leadership’ programme provided to 95 senior managers, department heads, supervisors and HR team members at Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services.

Gerard Flynn
Gerard Flynn

He told the Conference that the effective abandonment of training and development of managers since 2008, combined with wide-spread early retirements, had left serious competency gaps in the public sector.

Advertisement
Advertise here

The key to the success of the leadership programme, he explained, was the determination of senior management and the ability of the seven-member HR team to design and deliver it across disciplines. They ensured that it was provided to everyone with a supervisory role or control over budget lines – from those in charge of maintenance and catering services to the CEO and the executive team. Participants included managers in nursing, services, therapists, Admin/IT, cleaning, social work, security, catering and some medical staff.

The effective abandonment of training and development of managers since 2008, combined with wide-spread early retirements, had left serious competency gaps in the public sector.

Initially there was some questioning of ‘why are they here?’ until it dawned that each participant had common people management issues. They also needed to build confidence and skills in management practices while also learning best practice in ensuring common standards and practices such as performance assessment, feedback to staff, attendance management, handling grievances and coaching skills.

The nine modules were designed, in tandem with Align Management Solutions, and built on the organisation’s values which have been reinforced  by the Sisters of Charity who have  steadily being stepping back from direct management of the high-profile hospice. They were delivered to groups of about 15 between 2010 and last year.

An unusual feature was that each participant had a personal profile and analysis of their working styles and preferences with one-to-one discussion with external coaches or advisers. This was followed by four coaching sessions and shared problem-solving sessions and discussions on how applying the organisation’s values would impact on management styles and inter-personal relations.

An unusual feature was that each participant had a personal profile and analysis of their working styles and preferences with one-to-one discussion with external coaches or advisers.

Mr. Flynn said its success was down to four key features:

  • It was designed internally with Align Management Solutions and delivered through the hospital’s HR department rather than outsourcing.
  • It started with the top team and cascaded through the organisation to maintain standards.
  • Personal profiles and working styles analysis was provided to every participant.
  • Individual coaching and follow-on networking group sessions embedded the leadership development and best management practices.

Mr Flynn said that the leadership development intervention cost about €1,500 per participant. It led to immediate savings – with an 85 per cent drop in mediations and investigations – and improved communications and co-operation between departments, which also facilitated the successful launch of performance management for over 600 employees.

It also freed-up HR personnel from getting involved in ‘local issues’ which were now resolved by the unit or department managers. Attendance rates had improved and there was increased co-operation between disciplines and departments.

HMI members can download a PDF copy of the ‘Values-Driven Leadership’ presentation.