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Leadership Development for Cancer Leads and Clinical Chairs

Leadership Bite Size Masterclasses for Cancer Leads, Chairs and Deputy Chairs


Northern Cancer Alliance (NCA) commissioned Prospect for a second time due to the success of the first commission in 2018 to deliver a leadership programme for Cancer Leads, Chairs and Vice Chairs of multi-disciplinary teams, continuing with the priority for the NCA to develop their MDT leaders to ensure that MDTs were running effectively and following the recommendations for streamlining MDT meetings.

Prospect was commissioned to design and deliver bite size leadership masterclass topics with the aim of continuing to support these clinicians in their leadership role.


Each of these bite size leadership sessions was tailored to meet the needs of the participants by undertaking a rapid diagnostic with a number of chairs to ensure the masterclasses would meet their needs and support them in their leadership role.

Each masterclass was a half-day and each session was repeated three times. There were a range of resources, tools and techniques which accompanied each masterclass. Over 60 chairs and deputy chairs attended the sessions.

These topics consisted of:

  • Emotional intelligence (EI)

  • Effective team working – Part 2

  • Developing your influencing skills

  • Effective Chairing – Ensuring your meetings are outcome-focused and effective

The bite size leadership topics aimed to develop their knowledge, insight and skills as leaders to support them in their leadership role.

  • Topic 1: To gain greater insight into themselves as leaders, their EI, and how they can support sustaining their EI and leadership behaviours

  • Topic 2: The application of research-gained insight into high performing teams, team dynamics and the formation of teams. Through this practical session, applying tools/ techniques to utilise with their own teams to improve their effectiveness for quality care

  • Topic 3:  To gain insight into influencing strategies as a leader, to develop their push/pull skills and to understand their sources of power in influencing

  • Topic 4: To explore best practice in preparation, planning, and structure of meetings to ensure successful outcomes as a chair/lead and through interactive exercises learn and practice the effective skills/facilitation of chairing meetings, discussing dynamics and unhelpful behaviours and through skills practice.


We evaluated each of the masterclass sessions using Kirkpatrick level 1 and 2 (reaction and learning).

  • Programme content was quoted as relevant and resonated with participants

  • 100% of the participants agreed or strongly agreed that the learning objectives met their needs

  • 100% reported that attending the programme has/will help them in their current roles

  • Each masterclass received positive comments a few examples here

  • ‘Insight into emotional intelligence where powerful and understanding the importance of these as a leader’

  • ‘I will share and identify EI in the MDT members and create strategies to improve working relationships and dynamics due to poor EI’

  • ‘I will use the MDT team excellence assessment tool; it is great and a good way to review and engage the team’

  • ‘I will set up ground rules to apply with the MDT team’

  • ‘I gained so much from the influencing workshop, understanding my power’

  • ‘How I use push and pull techniques – superb and would highly recommend’

  • ‘The session on chairing was one of the best sessions I have taken part in, practical tools to help chair meetings more effectively’

  • ‘I loved the interactive aspects of dealing with dynamics effectively as a chair in practical sessions to chair meetings’

All sessions gained positive comments about the delivery team, including ‘interactive,’ ‘well facilitated,’ ‘Excellent, practical skills I have learnt at each session.’

Further Evaluation

6 months after the masterclasses, we followed up with a number of the participants to understand how they had transferred the learning into their roles and the return on investment using Kirkpatrick level 3 and 4 (changes in behaviour and results).

Below are the questions we asked followed by the responses we received.

  1. What has been the key learning for you from attending the leadership topics?

  • The key learning for me was on effective chairing around the way that meetings can be chaired to become more effective.

  • I have always felt when chairing a meeting that I had to do everything. The training showed me how to involve people in the meeting to shift ownership and engagement to the whole team.

  • I think the teaching on different approaches to a group tackling problems (eg a service issue), how to brainstorm/approach and get the best out of everyone. Good overview of the complexities of managing people/personalities and situational pressures.

  • Emotional Intelligence.

  • Exploring power and politics and how they relate to influencing.

  • Management vs leadership and the importance of EI and self-awareness.

2. How do you feel your own leadership skills have changed and what difference has it made to you and others?

  • I think this course reinforced the styles in which I feel comfortable but has also made me aware of styles I really don’t like using (but would sometimes need to!) others have noticed how I am flexing my style and approaches.

  • I gained from all 4 sessions and feel more confident in certain tasks/skills learnt and putting into action.

  • It has led to me having less conflict with difficult people, I remain calm and self-regulate now

  • I feel the training has improved my own self-confidence in my ability to work with clinicians, at a senior level to me.

  • The emphasis on ground rules and setting expectations for each other has helped me to interact with MDT groups

  • The Emotional Intelligence session where we looked at what a good day looked like versus what a bad day looked like helped me to realise that my state of mind and approach can very much influence how something can go and has made me reflect more before starting something.

3. What approaches, methods, tools and techniques have you taken from the masterclasses and applied to the MDT meetings?

  • I’ve tried the group problem solving activities (post-its on a board, etc.) which I thought was a nice technique to get everyone working together and investing in solutions. Re: MDT – we have agreed rules (everyone listens/everyone can chip in if something is missed/incorrect, a ‘flat pyramid’)

  • I am using the MDT Team effectiveness questionnaire with each of the teams to help work with the leads to understand the views of their colleagues and, plotting the results in the spider diagram, will help them to see the areas for focus.

  • I have done an exercise re EI and what this means for the MDT.

  • I have use the tools and techniques learnt to chair the meetings which is now going well and more effective.

  • I have done the exercise with the team on what they feel is important in the MDT and why – which has helped.

4. What benefits did you find from networking with colleagues?

  • As a non-clinician, being able to attend these sessions was great.  I was able to make contacts with colleagues involved in similar work so that we could share ideas.  Most of all it helped me to see that consultants are still human beings!

  • Always good to hear from others and learn from what is going on with them and keep an open mind to how we are then practicing.

  • The networking was excellent; I was lucky to be with like-minded consultants

  • Networking was useful, learning from others

5. What aspects of the Leadership development would you recommend to other colleagues?

  • Good networking opportunity. Good sessions on working in teams and strategies for problem solving/getting groups working better together.

  • Good sessions with the actor re: difficult conversations etc – quite challenging but really thought provoking.

  • Definitely developing self awareness/EI.

  • All aspects were very useful.

  • I would recommend the courses as there is something which will hit home for everything.  I think the way that the courses were facilitated ensured that everyone got something out of it.

  • They really made you look at yourself and the affect you can have on the success of something.  It is very easy to blame other people when, for example, a meeting doesn’t go well – the training showed that with some preparation and ground rules, you can influence the outcome.

6. Are there any aspects that you feel didn’t work well?

  • I felt there was a bit of repetition between the 2 programmes (2018 programme) so perhaps the content could be aligned a little more (although I appreciate there are multiple levels to delve into on each topic).

  • Nothing, they were excellent.

  • Not from the training as such, for me it is how I continue to reinforce the learning 12 months afterwards and make sure the learning is not lost, this is up to me though, to ensure I don’t go back to older ways of working.

7. Are there any other comments you would like to make?

  • One of the best leadership courses I have been on, this was due to the people who facilitated it.

  • They were excellent, well done.

  • Enthusiastic delivery. Jackie and her team are great people and really tried to make the sessions as interactive and interesting as possible.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the training and though it felt intimidating initially, I was comfortable within a room of clinicians and think that was down to the facilitation and inclusiveness of everyone in the room.

‘Prospect were excellent to work with; they were flexible to our requirements and problem solved in a collaborative way to ensure the leadership training met our needs.

All sessions were evaluated to an excellent standard. I would recommend Prospect to other organisations who are looking for expertise in leadership development.’

Michelle Wren, Cancer delivery Lead, Service Improvement, Northern Cancer Alliance

Leadership Development for Cancer Leads and Clinical Chairs

Leadership Bite Size Masterclasses for Cancer Leads, Chairs and Deputy Chairs

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