Leadership Dispatch – March 18th 2021

Welcome back to our Leadership Dispatch following a pause during the most recent intense wave of the global pandemic. The start of 2021 has been challenging for us all, and once again, I have been humbled by the deep sense of commitment from you in delivering the best care and also the astounding ability to stand up an entirely new service in the vaccination programme.

Our role within the South East Leadership Academy is to support our NHS people. We have been reviewing the report from our Listening events in November and December where we asked you what type of support you needed to lead your work, your teams, organisations and systems.  Your feedback has directly informed our delivery for the closing period of 20/21 and our planning for April 2021 as we design interventions that will support you with the ongoing demands of the pandemic and move us into a period of recovery and renewal.   We know that our work supports the delivery of outstanding leadership and leaders but we also know how pressurised you are. Your feedback tells us that bitesize offers continue to sustain you and your teams and our menu of virtual masterclasses, leadership espressos, and bitesize coaching allow development to continue in a manageable way. 

We will be sharing with you some new topics across all of these interventions including Leadership Espressos Supporting Your People When Noticing Burnout and Supporting Your People to Return to Work, with many more to follow over the coming weeks to keep you engaged, supported and inspired in your leadership work.  We are pleased to also extend our offer of Safe Space Conversations to clinicians leading teams and services to gain support and learning through this period of ongoing high demand. These coaching conversations offer the opportunity to reset, enhance resilience and further develop your leadership skills and personal effectiveness.

We continue to explore the field of leadership in health and care and I am pleased to share our recent research report with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) How might leadership roles evolve in integrated health and care systems?. This report, also featured in the latest NHS Integrated Care Bulletin, explores how leadership roles are changing in the sector as we move to greater system working and even greater levels of collaboration and shared accountability. 

There are new seminars and workshops added to the Executive Suite continuously as this offer evolves alongside #ProjectM – offering ways for all of our leaders to connect, learn and share experiences. We are working with our colleagues across Leadership and Lifelong Learning (nationally and across all regions) to explore how we can innovate, digitise and extend our offers to continue to meet your needs as we move forwards.

Ali Jennings, Head of Leadership and Lifelong Learning, South East

Regional Offers

Leadership Espresso Series: Supporting Our Leaders

The below sessions have been designed as standalone but can also be attended as a series.

Leadership Espresso: Conversations to Build Resilience, 16th April, 9:30 – 11:00

This 90-minute leadership espresso is for anyone who wants to know how to manage sensitive conversations to support their teams and colleagues when working under pressure.

Leadership Espresso: Supporting Your People When Noticing Burnout, 23rd April, 9:30 – 11:00

This 90-minute leadership espresso is for staff who are concerned that their teams are working under extreme pressure and who want to know how to better understand their people in such circumstances and what they can do to support them effectively.

Leadership Espresso: Making Every Conversation Count, 27 April, 10:00 – 11:30

This 90-minute leadership espresso session has been developed to support Line Managers to have meaningful coaching style conversations with their teams at times when people experience heightened levels of stress, pressure and ambiguity. This session will explore how a coaching approach to managing others leads to long-term development and more effective support.

Leadership Espresso: Supporting Your People to Return to Work, 30th April, 9:30 – 11:00

This session is for team managers and leaders who want to support their staff returning to work. It will explore factors that influence an individuals’ ability to return to work, help identify aspects of the job that can be adjusted and how to prepare and support both the individual and the team during the return to work process.

Leadership Espresso – Sustaining a Good Team Culture, 4th May, 10:00 – 11:30

This session will focus on exploring how managers can continue to cultivate a good team culture. It has been developed to provide practical tips and tools for helping teams to process and explore their experiences over recent months in order to move forward positively together, including how to design and run a processing or time-out session with your team.

Leading in the Light of COVID: Masterclass Series

PRIMARY CARE: Leading Remotely in Primary Care Masterclass, 6th May, 14:00 – 15:30

Leading in Primary Care is a daily juggling act, balancing the needs of your patient population with PCN-wide developments, plus the day-to-day pressures of Covid-related illness, virtual consultations and staff working from home. This virtual session provides some protected ‘head space’ and ‘thinking time’ for busy practice managers, primary care practitioners and other key primary care colleagues.

PRIMARY CARE: Organisational Development (OD) and Primary Care, 11th May, 09:45 – 12:45

This workshop has been designed for primary care colleagues to experience a speedy immersion into some of the key ideas in OD.  You will explore with others why and how understanding more about OD might provide you with more options, ideas – and even inspiration – as to how to approach some of the trickiest issues you face on a day-to-day basis.

1:1 Support for Leaders

Safe Space Conversation Sessions for Senior Clinical Leaders

This offer will provide senior clinical leaders time out to talk, to gain support, learning and development through a crucial period of heightened demand on individuals and the healthcare services around them. Primarily aimed at executive and deputy Medical and Nursing directors, Heads of Midwifery and AHPs (and their deputies), Senior Clinical Leaders of teams or services, and clinical divisional directors or equivalent.

Bitesize Coachinglast chance to book your 45-minute session

An opportunity for those working on the frontline and/or responsible for teams who are currently working under pressure to work with an experienced coach. This one-off session can help you process experiences, develop coping skills or explore strategies to navigate challenging circumstances.

Regional Programmes

The Power of Coaching Techniques Programme – an introduction to coaching and skills to support Primary Care Network Development, various dates from May to July

The Power of Coaching Techniques programme will reflect on the rapid changes that COVID has brought about to the way we work. This programme will allow primary care staff to understand how coaching approaches can help them support their local Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and will equip them with tools and skills to use these approaches effectively.

Other offers

Leadership Restoration Group sessions, 23rd March and 20th April, 14:00 – 16:00

Designed to offer safe spaces for leaders to talk openly about their experiences, feelings and concerns, and find mutual support from colleagues. The restoration group for leaders aims to support staff to find a sense of balance in their lives. Reducing the build-up of stress and increasing a sense of wellbeing through mutually nourishing conversations. The group offers an opportunity to ‘let go’ and find a sense of ease and calm in an otherwise frantic world.

Graduate Management Training Scheme – open for bids from organisations wanting to host graduate trainees

Organisations can now submit a bid / statement of commitment to host a graduate trainee for September 2021 cohort. The scheme aims to develop future leaders in health and care and plays an important part in the NHS talent pipeline, with many of GMTS alumni now working in key roles regionally and nationally. Virtual sessions to provide information on the assurance process and an opportunity to ask questions will be held on Wednesday 24th, Monday 29th March and Thursday 1st April  to attend, please register here.

National and Partner Offers

Leadership Support Circles Facilitator Training

Leadership Support Circles provide an interactive, peer-peer approach to supplement and complement evidence-based online resources. Feedback from early pilots shows that clinicians, allied professionals and others involved in the COVID-19 response are appreciative of opportunities to connect with peers, share their experiences as leaders and start to make sense of a bewildering period in all of our lives.   We are now looking to establish a further system-wide network of people who are willing and able to facilitate these support circle sessions.  Facilitators will be part of a national network, bringing together HR, OD and Wellbeing Professionals from across the NHS system.


Shaped by on-going feedback and conversations had with managers throughout the NHS – #ProjectM is a suite of resources, tools and guides to help our NHS managers lead through COVID-19 and beyond. A community of practice will provide a safe, collaborative space for colleagues to get peer-to-peer support, alongside our award-winning health and wellbeing offers.

#ProjectM Mentorship

In the spirit of support and collaboration #ProjectM mentorship has launched. This is mentorship but not as you know it! This means getting involved is quick and easy and doesn’t require registration. #ProjectM mentorship is based on harnessing social media (starting with Twitter) to enable the #ProjectM community to self-organise. This means you can share your skills and experience by letting the #ProjectM community know you are happy to be a mentor, or you would like to be mentored by adding a Twibbon to your Twitter profile picture.

Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship, including Mary Seacole Programme

The educational components of the programme are designed specifically to be delivered entirely online and will enable learners to complete the Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship that maps directly onto the knowledge, skills and behaviours identified in this apprenticeship standard and is also designed to cover the entirety of the Association for Project Management’s (APM) Body of Knowledge.

The NHS Pathways programme offers the opportunity for apprentices from NHS and other health care related organisations the option to complete the Mary Seacole leadership programme as part of this programme of study.

To find out more about the NHS cohorts watch a recording of an information session held last month or email [email protected]. Deadline for applications: 22nd March 2021

Palliative Care for Cancer Patients: free cancer webinar for GPs and primary care staff, 31st March, 13:00 – 14:00

GatewayC Live will be running this free 1-hour webinar that will focus on common issues, effective communication, end of life symptoms, advanced care planning and the impact of COVID-19.

Executive Suite Offers

Developed to support executive leaders to meet the challenges of leadership over the coming years, these offers are provided to open the space for co-development of leadership and lifelong learning with executive leaders. Current opportunities include:

  • Racial justice seminar series: next seminar 25th March 10am – 11.30am
  • Mentoring from the Centre for Army Leadership
  • One-to-one psychological support
  • Action Learning Sets – either national or regionally tailored to suit your system challenges


For Regional Offers: [email protected]

For National and Partner Offers – Please follow the link in the offer you are interested in and contact organisers directly