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Sign board entitled "The Leadership Loop in a conference room
July 11, 2018

Taking leadership to the next level

Together, they celebrated a year’s worth of personal and professional growth. They even saw one of their own stand at the podium to play a musical instrument he had never played before.

Well, almost.

Close to 40 leaders from Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) graduated last month from the hospital’s newly launched leadership development program.

Last fall, this group embarked on a year-long development journey. The new program, called Reimagining Leadership in a Complex System, supports leaders to grow and develop. It strengthens their capability to lead within an increasingly complex and challenging healthcare environment.

Among these leaders was aspiring musician and emergency physician, Dr. Anthony Crocco.

A man stands at a podium with a guitar

“To me, leadership is about grabbing the guitar and not being afraid to just get out there and play,” says Dr. Crocco, one of the program’s two valedictorians. “I was inspired every time I walked into the classroom.”

The program initially focuses on creating a deep understanding of one’s self, with curiosity and compassion. Next, it fosters a network of interconnectedness, enabling leaders with the space to reflect, apply learning, and coach each other to lead their teams with creativity and courage.

“It had just the right mix of theory and practical highlights,” says Dr. Smita Halder, a gastroenterologist at HHS and the program’s other valedictorian.

“It was transformational in the way I approach my own leadership style. I have a much better sense of my role, of those who influence me and how I can impact those around me more effectively,” she adds.

Program open to new participants in 2019

Launched last fall by the Centre for People Development, the program included mid-level and senior-level cohorts. Each had a mix of clinical and non-clinical leaders from HHS.

Over 70 people applied for a limited number of spots. Those who enrolled went to 11 full-day sessions over nine months.

The next program begins in early 2019 with registration details available this fall. HHS wants to offer this program every 18 months, and offer as many people as possible the chance to participate.

We want to develop more leaders at HHS.

“We want to develop more leaders at HHS,” says Mary-Anne Sersen, organizational development specialist and program lead. “Many people want access to career growth opportunities.”

Teri Czajka, clinical manager at Hamilton General, graduated from the mid-level stream.

“I was drawn to this program because it reimagines what leadership at HHS could be,” says Czajka. “Whether you’re a new leader or a senior one with years of experience, this program helps you develop a level of resiliency needed to cope with the everyday situations we encounter.”

Created specifically for HHS, the program is powerful and highly experiential. It pulls on participants’ own experiences and uses the knowledge in the room through peer coaching and learning from one another, as a cohort.

Woman participant sits and listens to group discussion

More opportunities for staff and leaders

This program isn’t the only opportunity for leaders to refine their skills at HHS.

With the hospital’s continued rollout of the CQI management system, managers learn to evolve from supervisors to coaches. As well, a number of supporting programs are available through the Centre for People Development.

Like tuning a guitar, the program’s facilitators want leaders to remember their growth is a lifelong journey. It needs frequent maintenance to be optimized.

For Dr. Crocco, the skills he learned in the program will certainly help him as an emergency doctor. It could one day also lead him to a concert stage near you.