Redefining leadership

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7340.786 (Published 30 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:786

Successful leadership requires range of styles

  1. Nigel Dudley, consultant in elderly medicine
  1. St James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF
  2. 6 Wooburn Grange, Grange Drive, Wooburn Green, Buckinghamshire HP10 OQU

    EDITOR—Treasure's views and comments after the NHS Confederation's leadership conference make interesting reading.1 The leadership style of consultants covers a broad spectrum that could be described as ranging from “huggy touchy feely” all the way up to “Attila the Hun meets Genghis Khan.” A similar spectrum exists in managers. The British government's own Cabinet Office expert report on public service leadership indicates that successful leaders need to adopt a range of styles depending on the situation.2 That may include having to resort at times to coercive, browbeating styles.

    Many consultants would perhaps choose to operate in the lower or middle range of the style spectrum. At times when managers do not listen to consultants' reasonable concerns about the delivery of safe, effective, high quality services there may be no option but reluctantly to wheel out Attila and Genghis …

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