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Developing exceptional leaders is key to creating a compassionate workplace culture and excellent patient care

Sue Forsey, Director of IT at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust (MTW), is on a journey to becoming an exceptional leader, after recently joining the Trust’s innovative leadership programme. Sue has recently taken part in the ‘Exceptional Leaders’ programme and says the course is transformational – developing first-class leaders and helping staff to progress in their careers.

Sue said, “The programme is all about shared learning. We’re learning to speak the same language and talk about our values in the same way. Our goal is to be an outstanding team supporting a Trust that is an outstanding organisation, which is only possible with consistent leadership across all teams.”

Another key benefit for Sue is that MTW has set aside structured time for participants to focus on the training outside of their day jobs.  She said, “We’re all so busy we can find it hard to dedicate time to learning. MTW understands that learning and improving is as important as the day job. They are investing in us as leaders so that we can drive the organisation forward. The course is relevant, engaging and supports our development – it’s helping us be better at our jobs.

“No matter how good you think you are, there is always something to learn. Having the opportunity to learn with different colleagues we don’t normally get the chance to speak to is extremely useful – it helps us to understand their challenges and discuss ideas and how to support each other better.

“Our CEO and executive team have completed the programme, and senior staff from across the organisation are going through it, so we’re all receiving the same messages and information. There is something very powerful knowing you are working for an organisation that wants to give everyone the opportunity to become outstanding leaders.”

Sue has worked at MTW for six years and was promoted to her current role in January 2021, after completing an MBA through an apprenticeship, which was also fully supported by the Trust.

MTW recognises that leaders have the most powerful influence on the culture of any organisation. The Exceptional Leaders programme aims to build a culture of compassion and inclusivity – and an environment where innovations and improvements can thrive.

Unlike other leadership training, the course was designed from the bottom up, with relevant content based on feedback from staff and leaders on what it takes to be outstanding. Topics covered include leadership, compassion; coaching, engagement; learning and how to make a positive impact. People reflect on their own leadership skills, any changes they’d like to make; and they collaborate and learn from colleagues and develop tools and techniques to help them lead teams more effectively.

Miles Scott, Chief Executive at MTW said, “The Exceptional Leaders programme is helping staff develop new skills, mind-sets and explore different ways of leading. It encourages people to step out of their comfort zone, even if it might feel uncomfortable and identifies opportunities for improvement that will positively impact patient care and the performance of the Trust.

“Building a collaborative and inclusive leadership culture will improve the experiences of our entire workforce and enable us to deliver our ambition of providing outstanding care to patients and making MTW a great place to work.”

MTW recently launched a major recruitment drive focused on clinical roles. This comes at an exciting time as the trust has invested in new facilities, service developments, training centres and digital transformations. To find out more about career opportunities, go to: Home – Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (mtwcareers.com)