Follow that leader …

Some Background

This is a first reflection on completing Launch, part one of the The Edward Jenner Programme. This programme features in the Knowledge for Healthcare blog, Build your leadership skills with the NHS Leadership Academy. It’s a three part eLearning offering from the NHS Leadership Academy aimed at new or aspiring managers. The first two parts – Launch and Foundations – use eLearning only and are free. The final part – Advanced – uses a blended learning approach and has a fee. Progression through the programme requires completion of the previous unit, Launch, Foundations and then the Advanced unit. As far as I know, no NHS healthcare librarian has taken the programme. This is probably wrong! Leave a comment if you disagree.


So Launch. The NHS Leadership Academy suggest completing the Launch and Foundation Units in 30 days. Most of that will be spent on the Foundation unit. Launch is just a taster. It sets up the programme and can be completed in three of four one hour sessions.

NHSx eLearning Platform

It maybe churlish to worry about this. Like complaining about the colour scheme in a lecture theatre. However, if you have MOOC’d around with eLearning you know how demotivating a clunking learning environment is. Well, worry not. This is a smooth, stripped down interface with simple functionality. The course material is easy to navigate. A dashboard to summarise what you have done. A journal to record your written contributions and a discussion board. Reassuring for those who use eLearning. Easy for the first timer.


Papers on leadership are probably piling up as you read this blog in the box marked never to be read journal articles. A staple of executive development courses. Everyone has experienced being led and has view on it. Launch doesn’t labour the point. It has a simple broad brush overview to summarise the main theoretical approaches and a discussion of leadership and management. Their approach is uncluttered and uncomplicated. It moves things along quickly.

NHS Leadership

The fact that the NHS has a particular take on leadership shouldn’t have surprised me but it did. Despite shunting around links and reports in current awareness services I hadn’t fully appreciated this. After all we don’t read all the books in the Library do we? Well, you do get the opportunity through the readings and presentations to understand this point and this was a valued take away from the unit. If your wondering the short version is a move from “heroic” to “distributed leadership”.

Personal Values

This part of the course looks at you, who you are and what is important to you, what motivates you. It’s a simple reflection exercise. Having dipped a toe in the Foundations unit this is typical of the approach to eLearning. Content followed by personal reflection and how you, as the learner, you can take it forward.

What next

The point of Launch is to try before you commit. There is enough to keep you engaged, not too much to frighten you away.   Personally I liked it and have started the Foundations unit. About 40 percent of this Unit completed.

Would you recommend this … ?

Yes I would. Having studied a business degree and attended the odd management development course I didn’t expect to learn much. But I did. Leadership theory and practice might not change that much over the years but as you and your job change it’s one to revisit every now and again to recalibrate your leadership compass.

Level. Well this is an introductory course to a leadership programme as well as an introductory course to leadership. Better to look at this in terms of application. If you aspire to lead in any capacity, have a job interview for a post with a leadership component or have just taken a job with a leadership role. This unit/programme will help.

It’s about healthcare and NHS. For me this was really important because it’s a point of view I needed but didn’t have. Although it’s for all who (might) lead if you are not in frontline clinical care you have to work a bit harder to apply the material. Thinking this through is also quite helpful in considering issues like the Impact of services, what connects you to the front line.

If you lead or work in a library team you can leave now.

If you’re in a one person band and conduct the monthly management meeting in front of a mirror, just look at the different ways you lead in the wider organisation / network. It doesn’t mean you don’t lead. You just do it differently. This course is for you as well.

A report on Foundations to follow … The last advertised start date for Launch / Foundations is 05 September 2016.

Matt Holland NWAS LKS, supported by HCLU North

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1 Response to Follow that leader …

  1. Pingback: Follow that leader (Part 2) by Matt Holland | LIHNN Clinical Librarians

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