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How to lead staff through unprecedented change

How to lead staff through unprecedented change

01 Feb 2016
How to lead staff through unprecedented change

Change is a constant in the NHS, say Ann Griffiths and Jenny Plaister, so leaders must build workforces that are resilient, fully engaged and adaptive

In an emergent working environment such as the NHS, where change is a constant, leaders and their workforce run the risk of suffering from change fatigue and stress. Such highly dynamic organisations require leadership skills that enable rather than control the future, and in so doing cultivate conditions where individuals can use their talents to excel and produce innovation.

A workforce that is ill equipped to deal with the disruption of constant change and the demands of complex systems will not be able to realise such a vision, as they become characterised by stress and poor productivity.

It therefore comes as no surprise that in these increasingly dynamic times, the Department for Work and Pensions reports there are around 300,000 people a year falling out of work and entering the welfare system because of health-related issues. It says employers face an annual bill of around £9bn for sick pay and associated costs, with the state spending £13bn a year on health-related benefits.

Clearly neither the government nor employers can continue to bear these costs. The Fitness for Work report goes on to highlight that one of the key issues underpinning sick leave is stress-related illnesses. With such a cost, in both financial and human terms, it is incumbent on leaders to build workforces that are resilient, fully engaged, and adaptive, if they are to flourish and perform at their best.

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