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Principled Leadership

Last week I attended several workshops at the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s (USPRA) 34th Annual Training Conference held in Norfolk, Virginia. The workshop I am sharing with you today was entitled: “Principled Leadership in Mental Health Systems and Programs.” It is based on William A. Anthony and Kevin Ann Anthony’s book with the same title which can be purchased online at www.bu.edu/cpr/products/.

Our workshop facilitators reviewed 8 leadership principles as follows:

1. Leaders communicate/create a shared vision.

· The organizational leader needs to continually assess the agency’s mission and vision. The leader needs to share what is happening in the larger world and then put this in context to its own organization. The leader also needs to use every communication vehicle available to express the organization’s vision and mission to staff and those the organization serves.

2. Leaders centralize around a mission but decentralize operations.

· The mission of the organization should be visible for all to see. It should be on business cards, visible within the organization’s buildings, especially in the board room. The mission dictates how the organization should operate; therefore, a principled leader doesn’t micro-mange. It’s a waste of time and staff can’t develop the skills they need to run the organization. The leader uses the mission to empower others. It’s the leader’s job to spread the word around in the greater community about the mission of the organization and raising funds to sustain the organization.

3. Leaders live by key values.

· Leaders need to be the keepers of the values (i.e. recovery values and assures that the mental health recovery values are being practiced in the organization). Staff’s performance evaluations are based on the organization’s values.

4. Leaders empower their staff

· An empower organization is clear who has authority and who makes decisions. Best decisions are made where the services are delivered. Use values to make decisions; this reinforces the values. The leader becomes a consultant within this context.

5. Leaders assure that staff are trained to do their job well.

· Leaders ensure that that staff are trained in a human technology that can translate a vision into reality. Training is important and the leader needs to assure that the organization is a learning community. Training can come through daily supervision, during staff meetings, peer reviews and of course through various workshops internal and external to the organization.

6. Leaders relate constructively to employees.

· A principled leader will always focus on the positive and the strengths of the organization’s employees.

7. Leaders use information to make change

· Change is constant. What should we start doing? What should we stop doing; what should be continued. Leaders receive feedback from staff, consumers, advisory bodies and other stakeholders. Then the leader, as part of the team, will use the continuous quality improvement process: decide, collect, analyze, implement, monitor, and decide.

8. Leaders recognize and reward great “performers.”

· Principled leaders always find a way to recognize great performers; it’s best to recognize great performers publicly.

Slides from this workshop can be viewed by going to the USPRA’s website at www.uspra.org.

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