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At the Q community event on 18 and 19 November 2020, we explored what COVID-19 is teaching us about leadership for improvement.

Collaboration and cross-system working were key themes in our conversations. We heard from four senior leaders working in North and Mid-Hampshire ICP and Wessex AHSN about how they responded to the pandemic as a system. They shared their thinking about putting adaptive leadership (as defined by Heifetz) into practice and ‘getting off the dance floor and up on the balcony’ to see patterns across the system.

But they also touched on important, simple changes that helped: their Friday afternoon multi-disciplinary zoom meetings, which unlocked problems quickly; or their video to local citizens to let them know that while COVID-19 disrupted services, they were working together to adapt and respond. Professor Becky Malby also explores new ways of working together, with a focus on primary and community care, in her presentation.

We didn’t shy away from the fact that collaboration isn’t always easy. Our session on Q’s newly released Skills for Collaborative Change: A map and user guide set out the skills and attitudes that support collaborative change and provides exercises to help teams have better conversations about how they will work together.

Finally, we talked about putting staff wellbeing at the heart of our work. We discussed how to make the case for investing in wellbeing, how to make practical changes on the ground and shared personal tips to look after our own wellbeing. I won’t pretend that turning to chocolate didn’t feature, but we also got deeper and considered how the Wheel of Wellbeing could help us take action in our teams and organisations.

Below you can browse the sessions from the event on this theme.

Watch the sessions

Leading and learning across an integrated care system

Collaborative system leadership is hard to do well, and yet when the going got really tough earlier this year, some localities made huge strides in this area. This session shares how teams in Wessex worked together during COVID-19 to enable them to work effectively across their system, including the lessons and tips they learnt along the way.

Skills for collaboration: a practical tool for you and your teams

Now, more than ever, we need to work collaboratively, but the skills required to do this well are wide-ranging and often under-estimated. Q and Nesta have developed a map and user guide to outline the skills and attitudes needed for collaborative change, including practical tools to help you identify your team’s collective strengths. In this session you can hear about what the skills map is, how to use the practical tools within your team and hear from a lead pharmacist who has used it with her CCG team.

Collaborating across boundaries: the big leaps forward in primary, secondary and community services

In this session Professor Becky Malby talks about the remarkable advances that have been made in cross-system leadership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in primary and community care. Based on a survey of frontline, senior, board and middle leadership, she outlines the major leaps forward that have been made as people have worked together in new ways, and how we can make sure we don’t ever go back to old, less effective ways of working.

Improving wellbeing, improving care

There is a well-evidenced link between staff wellbeing and high-quality care, as recognised in this year’s World Patient Safety Day. In this session you hear from national policy leaders about what they are doing to prioritise staff wellbeing, as well as hearing practical examples from leaders who are implementing improvements.

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