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Leadership roulette

Blair Mcpherson
Leadership roulette  is a new approach to teaching students nurses about leadership. Spin the wheel and deal with a typical workplace leadership issue. As a team gain in confidence, improve communication skills and explore management skills such as delegation, prioritisation assertiveness and time management. I haven’t played the game, I read about it in the Nursing Times, but it sounds fun. What struck me was not the use of role play or problem solving learning but the idea that nurses were leaders.

I had not thought of nurses as leaders any more than I think of teachers or social workers as leaders. Highly skilled professionals, possibly supervising less experienced staff, who of course can and do successfully move into management positions but this was training for pre registration nurses to equip them for the transition from student to qualified nurse. You will note that this was not about clinical leadership, best practice and professional values but management skills including delegation and prioritisation.

Maybe I am reading too much into the phrase “explore management skills” and “ leadership skills” . Maybe my idea of what a qualified nurse does is simply outdated. But this focus on leadership skills did make me wonder whether professionals , not just nurses, were increasingly expected to demonstrate leadership skills. We have seen this in management development where at one time the slogan was, “all managers are leaders”.

I thought this idea that all manager, could , should and wanted to be leaders had been debunked. Certainly there are managers who are leaders and they are of value to organisations but organisations also need managers who are simply good administrators,  competent professionals who set standards for those whose work they supervise.

If all professionals are to be leaders it can’t be long before some organisations start saying every one is a leader. All our employees are expected to take responsibility for their own and their colleagues work, we should inspire each other, we must all acquire the skills of delegation, prioritisation, and time management.
I think it would be unreasonable and confusing if we were to start expecting all employees to be leaders but I not sure my journalists colleague was joking and if an organisation like the NHS is thinking this way.

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