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This programme is already helping me become a better leader

Shetal Parmar is taking part in the  Common Purpose  leadership programme at Newham Hospital . Here, she tells us about the second workshop in the programme. 

Tell us about the workshop

“In this workshop, we took what we learned in workshop one – the principles of cultural intelligence and what we understood about our leadership style – and applied them to overcoming a hypothetical problem within the hospital. It was a lot of fun as we got to work with and learn from people we don’t usually have the chance to work with.”

What did the second workshop involve?

“We were all divided into different groups and worked with someone from the local community to overcome a problem. In my group, we worked with Maria from an organisation called Praxis and discussed how we would overcome the issue of providing adequate care and support – both in the hospital and beyond – to a homeless person whose immigration status is unknown.

It was hugely beneficial to get an outside perspective

“I really enjoyed working to solve the problem because it gave me a chance to think beyond maternity but still apply my maternity knowledge to another situation, and to learn about partner organisations that we work with. It was also great because I got to meet people I don’t usually interact with at the hospital and the opportunity to work with them.

“We also had workshops with leaders from outside the hospital, where we could ask questions and learn about their leadership style. It was hugely beneficial to get an outside perspective.”

What was something new that you learned at the workshop?

“The biggest thing I learned was that we should all be working together so much more. I already knew that collaboration was important but this workshop really brought the idea home to me.

“As a borough, Newham has a lot of complexities and nuances in terms of the people who live there and the conditions they present with. By bringing together people from different parts of the hospital, with different perspectives and different areas of expertise, we can find new, better ways to overcome the problems that we face in our hospital and ultimately provide better care for our patients.

“I also learned that one size doesn’t fit all in terms of leadership style, which is why core and flex is so important. And that people can be at different stages of their leadership journey, meaning we can always learn from and provide support to others.”

If everyone is more culturally aware, it helps us to be more in-tune with our colleagues and our patients

How do you think being on this programme will help you, those you work with and your patients?

“This programme is already helping me become a better leader by challenging me to think beyond my immediate area of expertise when looking for solution to a problem. And it’s making me think more about how I can encourage the people on my team to develop their leadership style.

“It’s also making me realise how important it is to be culturally aware within my role, as a hospital and ultimately as a trust. If everyone is more culturally aware, it helps us to be more in-tune with our colleagues and our patients, work better within our teams, develop a better working environment and ultimately provide better support and care to our patients.”

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