Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust: Leading Without Formal Authority Training

The Trust required a leadership development programme for colleagues who have to influence people who do not report to them, including junior doctors, clinical fellows, project managers, operations managers, clinical practice educators, physiotherapists and healthcare science practitioners.

Leading Without Formal Authority Royal Free course

NHS participants on the Leading Without Formal Authority course.

The purpose of the programme was to equip participants with knowledge and practical skills to achieve the following:

  • Understand the attitudes and behaviours of leaders who know how to get work done through collaboration, influence and persuasion
  • Increase awareness of self and the impact that one’s behaviour as a leader has on others
  • Acquire practical skills to communicate effectively, engage, inspire and influence others who have different values, priorities and ways of working

Working closely with the Trust to provide bespoke training, we designed and delivered a training course comprising four one-day sessions, each delivered approximately one month apart, with practical assignments in between each session.

The training encompassed a variety of topics, systems and exercises, including:

  • MBTI analysis plus practical learning exercises, to understand differences in approach and ways of working;
  • Body language;
  • Unconscious bias;
  • The Balance of Assumptions, highlighting the tendency to make assumptions and act on them, and provide to practical ways of recognising and evaluating them;
  • Exercises around the OK Corral, to explore the act and effect of bullying;
  • An introduction to coaching skills;
  • Neuroscience in goal setting
  • Techniques for achieving  constructive conversations;
  • Stakeholder mapping;
  • Types of power;
  • The decision-making quadrant;
  • Kotter’s eight-step change process.

Participants undertook practical assignments in between each module, working in pairs to explore and embed the skills, and applying the skills in their workplace.

A comprehensive handout was provided after each session.

At the end of the training, participants delivered an essay on how they had applied the skills and received an ILM Development certificate.

Outcome

 Participants unanimously agreed that the training had been useful and that they would recommend it to others, and the feedback was outstanding. Their essays demonstrated that they had understood all the models and tools delivered, and were using them in practical situations on a day-to-day basis.

Excerpt from a participant essay describing the Leading Without Formal Authority course

“Utilising the skills I gained on this course I have been able to empower and motivate through simple coaching techniques and leadership skills. My communication style is more structured and I am more conscientious of the relationships that I hold dear at home and at work effectively influencing for results.
A recent meeting between me and a fellow colleague allowed me to apply the coaching and leadership skills that I acquired during the “Leading without Formal Authority” course Although I don’t line manage this member of staff I was able to influence them.
One of the first things I did was to ask their permission to hold the discussion in my office and set the time according to their availability. The request for permission was a new concept I learned on this course, but a vital one, as it sets the rules. It is often missed, and hence conversations can steer off in another direction.
The MBTI personality indicator was one of the earlier tools I discovered and enjoyed learning about on this course.  Learning about MBTI was an eye opener, and helped me understand how to get the best out of situations by learning to gauge the other personality, and how that can help me set the tone of the conversation.
The Balance of Assumptions was another useful tool that I have successfully taken away from this course. It has enabled me to question my assumptions, look for the facts, and to derive whether an assumption is true.
Stakeholder mapping was one of the more recent  tools I gained on the course – where I could place people with varying interests invested in my project on a map, and monitor how their interference, or lack of, will favour or hinder my project.
Learning about the Five Levels of Listening has made me re-assess my communication style, and has swayed me to move from my traditional listening style of “hijacking” (taking over the conversation) to now seeking to be higher up on the levels of listening, either actively or attentively: allowing the speaker to continue freely; and listening behind the words; using intuition; and prompting the speaker to facilitate their self-learning and awareness by clarifying and reflecting on their words.
A highlight of this course was learning about the GROW coaching model, which stipulates a lot of unconscious self-reflection and often has the individual answering, or finding their own answers/ solutions, with minimum effort and advice from the coach.  It enables the individual to keep moving forward with positivity and solutions, with an aim of achievement, by answering “Goal, Reality, Options and Will” questions.” – Tahmin Ahmed, Clinical Trials Practitioner.