Team working part 3: leading a team

22 July 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 14


John Fowler, Educational Consultant, explores the qualities that enhance leadership in clinical practice


Take a few minutes to reflect on the team of people that you work with: how many people are in your team? Does the team comprise only nurses or do you count allied health professionals, ward assistants, domestics and ancillary staff as team members? Is the nurse with the most experience the person in charge? Do different people have different responsibilities? Who is managerially responsible for the team? Who do people go to when they need clinical advice or support? Is the manager also the leader?

I hope that as you begin to reflect on these questions, you will appreciate the complexities of team working and team leadership. If you again reflect on your own team and the leadership and managerial roles that people play, you will realise that there is no clear distinction between management and leadership as a number of functions overlap. Although some managers are also good leaders, many are not; other people may have good leadership qualities, but poor management skills. If you have worked in different clinical areas you will have experiences of the various ways in which leadership and management roles overlap and at times combine. Although acknowledgment of this overlap is important, the distinction between leadership and management is often overlooked and poorly understood. This article will explore the qualities that enhance leadership. Part four in the series will identify the skills of management; the difference between qualities and skills is a subtle but important distinction.

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