December is the month that most people spend more time socially with their work colleagues than any other period in the year. Increasingly outlandish Christmas jumpers are worn, Secret Santas are drawn and many after work drinks imbibed. Come the New Year, it’s all back to normal and the joy we find in the workplace in December is lost in the cold, dark months of the winter.
I’m fascinated by the need to get more love and joy into the workplace. I’ve been struck this year by the work of Frederic Laloux, whose book Reinventing Organizations – A Guide to Creating Organizations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness has been my most inspirational read of the year. So this coming year, 2016, I’ve decided that my New Year’s Resolution is to get more love into the workplace!
Many of us go to work having created an image of ourselves that is our ‘work persona’. I’m as guilty as everyone else; I have my ‘work wardrobe’ and I don’t mix my work clothes with my ‘fun’ clothes. Anyone else do that?
I think being yourself in the workplace is incredibly important and the way to developing a culture of trust and authenticity. According to the Collins dictionary the definition of authentic is “…genuine… accurate in representation of the facts; trustworthy; reliable;” all of which are characteristics of people I want to spend a considerable amount of my time with.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought over the past year as to how we develop a culture of compassion in our NHS organisation and I’ve concluded that authentic leadership is a vital component. Going hand in hand with this is collective leadership, where everyone takes personal responsibility for the success of the organisation (definitely worth reading Michael West’s work in this area). This is particularly important in an environment where many of the staff enjoy professional autonomy. Ensuring that every one of our 13,650 staff feel part of the organisation and take responsibility for the success of the whole organisation, is crucial to our continued success.
It’s been a challenging year in the NHS and despite the welcome additional £3.8bn from the Treasury in the Spending Review, it feels as though next year will continue to be a huge challenge for its 1.4 million staff. Bringing love and joy into our NHS organisations will be a really important factor in keeping up the morale of our staff.
There was a lot of love for the NHS this Christmas as the NHS Choir beat all the odds and made it to the Christmas No1, with Bridge Over You selling over 127,000 copies and raising money for charities such as MIND and Carers UK. (Watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8qHXlShfUQ). Keeping that feel good factor and that overwhelming feeling of joy of really being part of something that matters I see as a key priority for our NHS organisation, and the NHS as a whole this year.
So where to start? It was Peter Drucker who said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
I intend to start by building a culture of compassion. Ensuring we have the right culture, driven by our visible values and behaviours; encouraging a culture of authentic and collective leadership; supporting our teams with the development of emotional intelligence and seeing the individuals in front of them rather than just following a policy is this years’ focus.
I’ll keep you up to date on progress; what works (and what doesn’t) throughout 2016 on this blog and my Twitter account @sarahmorgannhs.
This year, I can’t wait to achieve my New Year’s Resolution!
 http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/authentic Accessed on 28 December 2015
West M et al; Developing collective leadership for healthcare; The King’s Fund and Centre for Creative Leadership; May 2014
Sarah Morgan is the Director of Organisational Development for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust