Patient Centered Leadership is essential for nurturing a culture in which patients’ needs come first and for ensuring that the core purpose and values of patient centered care are communicated and understood at all levels in health care organizations’.
Service providers, in health care, are often overwhelmed by their workload and unclear about their priorities. This can produce stress, inefficiency and poor-quality care. It can also arise as a result of poor managerial support and a lack of leadership. There are clear linkages between staff experience and patient outcomes. Data from the UK National Staff Survey reveal that staff engagement trumps all other measures, as the best overall predictor of NHS organizations’ outcomes. It impacts patient mortality, quality indicators, financial performance and even patient safety. Leaders are key to providing conditions for high staff engagement by promoting a positive climate, recognizing contributions, providing feedback and thus developing a trusting relationship. When staff report high levels of supportiveness from their immediate managers, patients report receiving better care.
At an organizational level, leadership strategy is the development of a collective capability. This contrasts with most traditional leadership development work, which only focus on developing individual capability, while neglecting the need to embed the development of leadership competencies in the context of the organisation. Therefore, Patient Centred Leadership Development cannot be the preserve of a selected few potential managers, but must be an initiative that targets people across domains and levels if it has to have an overarching impact on patient care.