As part of our focus on leadership, we now hear from Jenni Coles, Director of Hospital Services.
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with wonderful leaders in our organisation, including our CEOs who have not only created a vision of where we need to be but have taken us on the journey with them. In our current climate of increasing demand, capacity and limited resources, Geraint Martin is now leading us into a more sustainable future.
So what makes a good leader? There are many books written on leadership and many courses you can attend. My view is that you need to understand yourself and what you want to achieve. You should develop an understanding of what you have to offer as a leader, as each of us are individuals and we all have special skills and attributes to contribute.
Secondly, my advice is to look, listen and learn. There are many wonderful learning opportunities within this organisation and over time you will see that within leadership and management there are specific skills and techniques that you will need to master. I would also emphasise the importance of observing our organisation, sectors and country’s leaders – they can teach you a lot.
In each of the roles I have held I have learned from my managers. Once in my career I worked at NZ Steel with a man called Alan Jessop. He was an experienced manager and also a technical expert who would sit down and talk about what the challenges and opportunities were, and when he left you’d find that you had willingly volunteered to be part the next activities or adventure! Alan had a wonderful way of helping you to see his vision to the point you could see your place in an exciting new future. Look around you, there are wonderful leaders in our organisation, both clinical and managerial.
I think CMDHB has always been supportive of its leaders, and I’ve been very appreciative of the time invested in my professional development, which began as an Occupational Therapist many years ago. I had the opportunity to take on more senior leadership and management roles when I returned to the workforce after raising my family. I have been encouraged, supported and mentored by my managers including formal management training. I have also had the opportunity to work in various departments which gave me an understanding of the complexity of the clinical and operational activity of this organisation.
On reflection there were times that this was quite a daunting and I had to really believe that I could move from a clinical role into management and leadership roles. It also meant accepting opportunities when they came along, sometimes even when the timing may not have seemed right.
What I have learned on this journey is that you cannot lead on your own. You have to build and lead a team. You do this by recognising and maximising the talents of the people around you, setting goals and pathways and creating a happy and healthy workplace. If you create teams around you that feel supported and appreciated, and with clear goals and direction you will get good results. It’s also important to build the leadership capacity and skills within your teams. I think it makes your whole area productive and more sustainable and it gives people a reason to stay and grow in their careers.
Favourite quote: “To serve, to strive and not to yield.” – Outward Bound
Recommended reading: The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner
Best advice: Live the values of the organisation: Care and respect, teamwork, professionalism, innovation, responsibility, partnership.
Check out our leadership quotations.