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Compassionate leadership for managers

A Healthier Wales and the Health and Social Care Workforce Strategy share a vision that by 2030 leaders in health and social care will demonstrate collective and compassionate leadership. These resources aim to help to define what we mean by compassionate leadership and to support leaders and managers to embrace it in their practice.

What is compassionate leadership in social care?

Compassionate leaders model core behaviours of attending, understanding, empathising and helping to create inclusive, effective and collective cultures within their teams.

The Kings Fund describe this in the context of:

‘Compassionate leaders look after themselves and model this self-care to others. They realise it is ok to be human, to make mistakes and learn from them – and they give themselves and others permission to do this. In a high-pressure environment with constantly competing priorities compassion can sometimes be forgotten, but these leaders have to have the courage to work against the norms and challenge the wider culture that pervades a publicly scrutinised and regulated system’

This can be challenging and sometimes feel counter-intuitive in pressurised leadership roles. The short film below describes what compassionate leadership looks like in practice.

Principles of compassionate leadership for health and social care in Wales

Social Care Wales and Health Education and Improvement Wales launched the Compassionate Leadership Principles for Health and Social Care in Wales on Wednesday 12 May 2021. The principles aim to provide a shared understanding of what compassionate leadership is and what it looks like in practice.

In these short launch films Sue Evans, Chief Executive Officer Social Care Wales, Alex Howells, Chief Executive Officer Health Education and Improvement Wales, Andrew Goodall, Director General for Health and Social Services and Michael West, Senior visiting fellow at The King's Fund and professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University describe the shared vision of these principles and what this means for social care and health in Wales.

Watch the endorsements films from our leaders and experts.

Compassionate leadership during Covid-19

We have curated resources to help leaders to protect their own wellbeing and to support their teams.

Professor Michael West, Senior visiting fellow at The King's Fund and professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University provides some reflections of how compassionate leadership can be used in times of crises in this short film.

Useful articles and resources

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First published: 10 May 2021
Last updated: 14 October 2022
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