‘Compassionate and inclusive leadership is embedded in high quality, high performing systems because it is the right way to behave. Evidence shows it is also the right way to unleash people’s full potential to improve care working with patients and service users, improve population health and well-being , and improve value for money’
Developing People – Improving care : a national framework for action on improvement and leadership development in NHS funded services
Inclusive leadership skills have been identified as a critical capability to be developed across the NHS. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates diversity in leadership has a positive impact on performance and innovation – ultimately improving the quality of care to patients and service users.
The mentoring for inclusion programme will contribute to improving the diversity of future leaders, encouraging a more inclusive climate and ensuring the health and social care sector benefits from the diversity of ideas and experiences in its workforce including those with protected characteristics. The benefits of the programme will be two fold – mentors will gain an understanding of the lived reality of under-represented groups, whilst those receiving mentoring will develop confidence, networks and increased visibility.
The programme constitutes two core elements over a six month period: an individual mentoring programme – including reverse mentoring - supplemented with a ‘trading places’ reciprocal workplace exchange. Taken together, they provide development opportunities for both mentors and mentees, and a strong emphasis on sharing learning and leading practice that will benefit the wider healthcare system. This benefit will be reinforced by selecting mentoring pairs who work in different parts of the healthcare system.
In keeping with the principles of compassionate and inclusive leadership, the programme takes an appreciative, strengths-based approach. In the first instance, it aims to recruit mentees and mentors from diverse backgrounds who can demonstrate these principles and who will commit to supporting each other’s development. As well as bringing new insights to the mentor, reverse mentoring will help to shift and equalise the ‘power balance’ in the mentoring relationship, reflecting the culture of compassionate and inclusive leadership being pursued.
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