HCL Issue 10 - Page 27

INSIGHT 27 ‘Silence is not an option in the face of exclusion’ There’s still a long way to go in changing organisational culture, NHS Leadership Academy director Tracie Jolliff tells Valeria Fiore ational director of inclusion at the NHS Leadership Academy Tracie Jolliff spent 18 years focusing on eradicating social injustices as a social worker in child protection services. She joined the NHS Leadership Academy just over five years ago, and leads the academy’s work on inclusion. N How did you land your role at the NHS Leadership Academy? I was a social worker in child protection services in the Midlands and the South West, then got into consultancy, where I worked with various organisations. When I was a consultant at KPMG, I became involved with the Nye Bevan programme at the NHS Leadership Academy, which is designed to develop senior leaders. I suggested that the inclusion element could be increased and the Leadership Academy later asked me to take a role there myself. Q What challenges have you faced in Q your career? I’m a mum of three children. Before I had them, I felt it was easy to step into my career and follow my interests. However, after returning from maternity leave, I realised how having kids has an implication on women’s career progression. I had to work much harder to be seen, be heard and have my talent acknowledged. Being a black woman adds additional barriers in the workplace. When I was a child, my parents used to tell me ‘you’re going to have to work several times harder than your white counterparts to get on’. That is a common mantra that black parents teach their children. From my personal experience, I am very aware of stereotypes I have to circumvent. One is that black women are all angry. This is difficult: if you feel you have not been heard, you find ways to amplify your voice. But then we are labelled as aggressive. But silence is not an option in the face of exclusion and marginalisation. There’s a real need to focus on what inclusive leadership should look like in the NHS and the wider public sector. That’s the area of work I’m leading. Managers’ mindsets, attitudes and behaviours determine how much of a voice employees get in the workplace. We need to focus on culture change to promote inclusion at all levels. In the long-term plan, NHS England said it would continue to fund the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) until 2025. Is this commitment enough? It is a really good move. The WRES enables us to focus on race equality, which I think would otherwise be difficult to do. Q Managers’ mindsets, attitudes, and behaviours determine how much of a voice employees get in the workplace However, I don’t think it’s enough. The WRES rightly focuses on diversity in senior roles. But it doesn’t focus on positive action to develop the capabilities of BAME staff in the system, which is part of the academy’s work. More should be done to meet the aims of the WRES. We need to work on culture change and on helping leaders to become more inclusive. What can leaders do to encourage greater inclusivity in the NHS? First, I would tell them to be open to learning and to question what they think they know about this agenda. Second, inclusion needs to start with us. We need to understand our own identity, to work with ourselves and connect with others in ways that build trust and create the capacity for change across our system. Q What is the Leadership Academy working on to drive leadership development? The academy is developing an approach that will support the NHS to realise its Q ambitions for increased representation of underrepresented groups in senior leadership positions, and to address the working experience of minority groups. This strategy, Building Leadership for Inclusion, is based on research from pilot sites and senior leadership engagement that establishes what works in increasing representation and transforming NHS cultures. This evidence shows that taking these steps improves the experience not only of minority groups but of all staff. It also improves performance and the service’s ability to deliver the ambitions in the NHS long-term plan. Which achievement are you most proud of in your career? I’m most proud of the things that empower others to do great work. That would include the work on inclusive leadership development at the academy. We design leadership development interventions to support people to understand what socially just and inclusive leadership looks like. What gets me up in the morning is knowing our actions will have helped other people to make changes towards greater levels of inclusion, equality and social justice. Q How can we encourage more women to take leadership roles? There’s research showing that men go for a job interview even if they only have two skills out of 10 and women don’t go for the job even when they have nine skills out of 10. I would tell them: ‘just go for it’. We need more women in senior roles, we need their perspective and we need women who understand what feminism is and have done the work on themselves to take a feminist stance in the workplace. A view of feminism that embraces the voices of all women. I’d say don’t be afraid to be the first, particularly because a lot of BAME women will be now coming into roles where they are the first. Learn how to support each other and how to show up genuinely. Understand yourself and what motivates you as well as what derails you and create strategies to address these derailers. Q Healthcare Leader 2019 Issue 10