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Why integrated teams need positive and collaborative leaders, and how to become one

A guest blog by Julie Want, AQuA

21 May 2019

There has never been a more important time for organisations to equip their leaders with the right skills, behaviours and capabilities to deliver integrated services for population and place.


Systems leaders of the future

Systems leadership is all about encouraging an open and collaborative mindset where organisation interests are put aside in favour of the needs of the local community. It can be counter-intuitive to what you normally do as a senior leader and that’s why focused training can make such a difference.

In the last 18 months 50 leaders have completed our Leading Integrated Teams programme from 23 organisations across the North-West. Bringing together the latest thinking in leadership and team development (including the Affina Team Journey), this unique programme helps leaders to navigate complex, interdependent systems of care and support.

Each cohort forms a powerful peer network of like-minded and collaborative leaders across the region, with impact well beyond the programme itself.

“The beauty of the programme was that it was co-designed by us as delegates and we developed a great camaraderie.”


Participant stories

After letting the participants apply their learning in everyday working life, we asked three of the first cohort to share their experience. Here’s Helen, Vinita and Lica:

How has the programme helped you as a leader?

Pennine Care’s Urgent Care Lead, Helen Ashton says…

“I’m so squeezed on time that just being able to take time out to learn and reflect with my peers around such a buoyant agenda was invaluable. I now understand why my compassionate leadership style has served me so well! It really was a light bulb moment and has boosted my confidence no end. I loved the course! The work around positivity was another highlight. I’m now using the practical activities to foster positivity and encourage innovation.”

How has the programme improved the way your team works together?

Royal Liverpool’s Integrated Planning Lead, Vinita Mishra says…

“I came to the course with a very specific requirement – I needed help in sorting out a troubled senior team. It was difficult situation involving the merger of two disparate groups. But I like a challenge and with the help of the Affina Team Journey and the support of my Medical Director we were able to get issues out into the open and really turn things around. After our first session one team member remarked: ‘It’s the first time we have enjoyed the meeting!’

How has the programme impacted your system?

Wigan Council’s Locality Manager, Lica Marchant says…

“Throughout the programme I shared the tools, knowledge and experience I gained as widely I could. I tried to extend my thinking beyond integrated care and apply the learning to ‘place’ based interventions, which involves many more agencies, including police and housing. I can demonstrate improved outcomes for customers in terms of shorter waiting times, reduced duplication, enhanced support from cross-educated colleagues, customers only sharing their story once, healthier outcomes and much less bureaucracy.”

Programme: Leading Integrated Teams

Aimed at: Leaders of multidisciplinary / integrated teams in health and social care

Tools: Affina Team Journey; quality improvement

Duration: 8 sessions across 7 months

Dates: The programme is due to open to applications during August 2019 and commence in November 2019

Contact: Julie Want


Julie Want is AQuA’s Senior Improvement Advisor, System Transformation and Integration. AQuA delivers Leading Integrated Teams in partnership with AOD – and with PACE and Aspire, two North West-based coaching and leadership development consultancies working with both AQuA and AOD. Visit the AQuA website for more information. If you’re looking to integrate team development into your own leadership programmes, contact Sarah-Jane Dale at AOD. 

Watch the video for more…

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