Leadership and Leadership Development in Healthcare Settings – A Simplistic Solution to Complex Problems?

Document Type : Editorial


Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, England, UK


There is a trend in health systems around the world to place great emphasis on and faith in improving ‘leadership’. Leadership has been defined in many ways and the elitist implications of traditional notions of leadership sit uncomfortably with modern healthcare organisations. The concept of distributed leadership incorporates inclusivity, collectiveness and collaboration, with the result that, to some extent, all staff, not just those in senior management roles, are viewed as leaders. Leadership development programmes are intended to equip individuals to improve leadership skills, but we know little about their effectiveness. Furthermore, the content of these programmes varies widely and the fact that many lack a sense of how they fit with individual or organisational goals raises questions about how they are intended to achieve their aims. It is important to avoid simplistic assumptions about the ability of improved leadership to solve complex problems. It is also important to evaluate leadership development programmes in ways that go beyond descriptive accounts


Commentaries Published on this Paper

  • Responsibilising Managers and Clinicians, Neglecting System Health? What Kind of Healthcare Leadership Development Do We Want?; Comment on “Leadership and Leadership Development in Healthcare Settings - A Simplistic Solution to Complex Problems?”

            Abstract | PDF

  • Who Doesn’t Want to be a Leader? Leaders Are Such Wonderful People; Comment on “Leadership and Leadership Development in Healthcare Settings - A Simplistic Solution to Complex Problems?”

            Abstract | PDF

  • Going beyond the Hero in Leadership Development: The Place of Healthcare Context, Complexity and Relationships; Comment on “Leadership and Leadership Development in Healthcare Settings – A Simplistic Solution to Complex Problems?”

            Abstract | PDF


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