Log In
Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Leading the NHS for alignment

23rd April 2009

Leadership development associate at the King’s Fund and senior development consultant at the South West Development Centre, Steve Onyett discusses ‘hosts’, ‘parties’ and leadership as they apply to the NHS.


Bringing the first two of the Department of Health’s change principles for the NHS - co-production and subsidiarity – alongside the two other key principles of effective leadership and aligning different parts of the system towards the same goals, can lead to the achievement of cultural change in complex living systems.

Leadership is about creating both the opportunity and ability for people to give the best of themselves regardless of their role in the system. It is the “release of potential rather than the slow grind of training up competencies.”

But leaders need to be more than heroes or servants.

In his paper for the International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, Mark McKergow invokes the idea of leader as host ‘of the party.’

They ensure the right people are there, relationships flourish, they welcome strangers and participate themselves.

But as host, you have to create willing guests.

The key to system alignment and engagement is to host opportunities where people can see a preferred future together.

It allows for self organisation around emerging needs and facilitates the return of power to the places it has drifted away from.

A powerful way to help people recover their authority is via the use of solution-focused, strengths-based and appreciative approaches to work within living systems.

“We need to build from strengths, experience and opportunities to give our best at every level.”


Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Article Information

Title: Leading the NHS for alignment
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 11117
Date Added: 23rd Apr 2009


Health Service Journal

Recent Related Articles

HSJ Partnership Awards recognises leading NHS suppliers


Add to scrapbook
Show Comments
Add comment
Find all related articles


Mayden - Innovative cloud-based web development for the healthcare sector
© Mayden Foundation 2018