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Introducing the National Cancer Leadership Progamme

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The National Cancer Leadership programme is a well-tested course that helps its delegates focus on the behaviours essential for effective leadership, writes programme director Sara Lister

MacGregor Burns in the 1950s said: ‘Leadership is a baffling subject’. I think that holds true today, with new papers and books on the subject being published all the time. It can be difficult when designing a leadership development course to know where to begin.

The National Cancer Leadership Programme has addressed this issue by beginning with the needs of the delegates themselves. Following the first introductory module, they all complete the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis Questionnaire, a tool designed and rigorously tested over many years by the Management Research Group (used in this programme under licence from the University of Leeds).

This tool focuses on the behaviours considered essential for effective leadership. As well as asking the delegates to rate themselves, a selection of the people they manage and their boss are also asked to give their opinion of the delegates’ leadership performance.

We don’t underestimate that receiving feedback from your boss and the people you manage can be challenging, so the second module takes place in the beautiful Scottish Borders in an environment where the delegates have time to reflect and be kind to themselves with good food and an opportunity to be pampered or take exercise.

As well as receiving the feedback as a group, each delegate has time with a facilitator of the programme to enable them to see the feedback in context, and to help them develop their own action plan which they will work on during the programme.

A number of the leadership behaviours the group need to strengthen will be similar – it is these that will guide the structure of the rest of the programme. We have been running the programme now for four years so we have some idea what that might be, but as each individual and each programme is unique I will leave Liz Darlison, nurse consultant for Mesothelioma UK, to tell you about what does actually take place in her blog over the coming months.

I first met Liz last year when she came to the interview as finalist for the NT/Royal Marsden Nurse Cancer Leader of the Year award. She is doing some amazing things for individuals with mesothelioma. It will be a privilege to have her as a participant on this programme. Over the nine months the programme runs, she will be sharing her experiences of being a programme delegate.

I hope you find this of interest and it inspires you to undertake this or a similar programme in the future. If you want more information about this or any other programmes we run at The Royal Marsden School of Cancer Nursing and Rehabilitation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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