In January 2018, the LeaderShift project received 3 years of funding to start helping leaders in community and primary health care build their capacity and get collaboration-ready through an innovative, cross-sector leadership development project.
Our results have been great so far. But numbers don’t tell the human side of the LeaderShift story. Below, meet five current and emerging leaders from across our sub-sectors to learn how LeaderShift has shifted them. (Names and details have been changed to protect privacy.)
“I feel more confident in managing my board now.”
Elizabeth has been the executive director of an addictions and mental health organization for two years. Attending the LEADS Learning Series through LeaderShift has helped her confirm that she can be herself as a leader, rather than trying to fit herself into somebody else’s leadership style. Her newfound confidence has been especially impactful in her interactions with her Board. “I have a challenging board, but I’ve been able to challenge them and feel more confident in where we’re going strategically. I can push back a bit.”
Meeting others in her sector also helped Elizabeth recognize that tension between an Executive Director and a Board of Directors is normal, reflecting the nature of the roles. “It’s not about me, it’s about the role of the ED and the role of the board of directors. Their role has purpose. It’s not about taking things personally.”
LeaderShift has helped Elizabeth feel more confident at leadership tables. “I’m speaking out more (now).” A close colleague, Nora, noticed the change, commenting that “Elizabeth is brave, and it’s neat to see. She’s been able to build support for change in this difficult context slowly, but sure, and I think that speaks to her leadership abilities.”
“Sometimes we get into a leadership role, and we’re not always given a chance to develop those skills or connect with other leaders…
Melissa has been a manager in a health services organization in Northern Ontario for about four years. LeaderShift has helped her reflect on her organization and its strategy so that changes have more traction and a bigger impact. “I ask different questions now…” she says.
She’s also embracing her own, authentic leadership style. “If I’m transparent in what I’m doing, it helps the authenticity. I wasn’t implementing change for the sake of it -- I took the time to have all the answers and think about what we were doing. They saw that I was genuinely on board and they saw that authenticity.”
To extend the impact of what she learned from LeaderShift, Melissa’s been sharing it, especially regarding communication. Her supervisor recognizes how helpful that’s been, noting “It helps us all to speak the same language.”
“It just opened my mind to...what strengths I have.
Rachel is a Registered Nurse working in primary care and has been with her organization for 18 years. She is a staff nurse, but also acts as the nursing team facilitator, which puts her at monthly management meetings, representing nursing.
Recently, Michelle suggested changing the way the clinic assigns patient rooms. When the idea met with some resistance, Michelle advocated for it and followed up, rather than simply leaving it to management as she would have in the past.
Rachel’s manager, Michelle, notes that while Michelle has always had strong leadership skills, she’s really noticed a change in her confidence and the initiative she’s been showing in taking on more management responsibilities.
For her part, Michelle has been actively sharing insights and ideas from the LEADS Learning Series with her colleagues, and advocating for similar training and development opportunities for medical receptionists.
“It helps you and your organization to be the best that you can be.”
Bridget has been the Executive Director of a Family Health Team in Northern Ontario since 2011. Since attending LeaderShift, her confidence has sky-rocketed, which she attributes to having the chance to reflect on her values as a leader and why her work matters. “Once you know that, you can make more confident steps in what you’re doing.”
Madelyn, a board member who works closely with Bridget, has taken notice, explaining that this increased confidence has been especially apparent in more challenging situations, including staffing challenges. “It brings an extra level of maturity and strategic planning to the organization.”
Since completing the LEADS Learning Series, Bridget has been more focused on collaboration with stakeholders outside of her own organization, and on leading system change. “We don’t have to have the answers ourselves,” she says, “but collectively we do.”
Bridget was so inspired by her experience that she’s taken a facilitation course through LEADS and plans to use the LEADS framework in her organization’s strategic planning going forward.
“Previously I declined any opportunity to advance…
I didn’t feel that I was an equal before, and now I do.”
Sophia is the HR Director at a mental health organization -- a role that she declined for nearly 10 years, then finally stepped into a few months after completing the LEADS Learning Series.
Like other LeaderShift grads, she was empowered and inspired by the idea that there are many different leadership styles. “I found that so powerful -- you don’t have to become a certain type of leader to be successful, but you can harness your own style and be a unique leader.”
“That confidence allows me to move forward without needing to have my work reaffirmed by someone else. I don’t doubt what I need to do to be an effective leader.”
Ellen, the organization’s Clinical Director, notes that Sophie’s confidence has also made her more forward thinking. “Because she has built partnerships, she draws on the expertise of her peers instead of doing it for herself. And she is certainly not afraid to bring concerns forward.”
Thanks to Sophia’s LeaderShift experience, and the confidence it gave her, HR is now an integral part of every discussion at the director table.
It’s Not Too Late to Start a LeaderShift
While the opportunity to participate in the LEADS Learning Series is now closed, you can still access our Health System Leaders Webinar Series and Applied Leadership e-learning series.