(apols for advert at start)
I watched the Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows during the christmas holiday period. It first reminded me that I really need to go back and read the books as I am sure they are lots of subplots that I missed. But secondly that Neville gets a pretty raw deal compared to Harry Potter. If I was going to be a hero, Neville Longbottom is the hero I would like to be. Little point in believing I am not a geek. But at least a geek who achieves things, a quiet leader.
Neville Longbottom: So how are we going to get to London?
Harry Potter: Look, it’s not that I don’t appreciate everything you’ve done, all of you, but – but I’ve got you into enough trouble as it is.
[walks past everyone]
Neville Longbottom: Dumbledore’s Army’s supposed to be about doing something real.
[Harry stops turns around to face them]
Neville Longbottom: Or was all that just words to you?
[extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix]
The concept of leadership in medicine is pejoratively and passionately pontificated. The impossibility of everyone being a stereotypical ‘leader’ balanced with the importance of all professionals needing to demonstrate ‘leadership’. Harry Potter commonly seen as the former archetype but not everyone can be a ‘Harry’. This is either because they don’t have the subtle instinct to act the right time, are not willing to embrace the negatives or simply weren’t in the right place at the right time. Conversely not everyone sees Neville as a traditional leader but from a hesitant ackward beginning he quietly goes about his business supporting those who need help. He actually has much in common with Harry. Their values and motivations are no different and he ultimately co-ordinates a resistance movement in Harry’s absence. Neville demonstrates true leadership by followership.
Perhaps it is time for us to acknowledge the Neville Longbottom’s of the healthcare system. Those that deliver, sometimes in the absence of guidance, even when everything is stacked against them. The Neville’s appreciate the desire to be involved in creating an effective, high quality healthcare (it’s not just the Harrys) but acknowledge the system doesn’t give everyone the chance to help deliver it.
If you feel more like a Neville than a Harry then there are things you can do. The School for Healthcare Radicals has opened – an opportunity to learn how to develop yourself, and others, to create change in health and care environments. This school itself has percolated out of NHS Change Day, the 2014 event being now less than two months away. Both are open to all regardless of your profession, grade or place of work. The ideas and pledges you submit are yours and the manner in which you carry them out is up to YOU. But like Neville its likely that you are the type of person who will be delivering more than words…..