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Influencing as a leadership and political skill

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BAOT/COT Professional Affairs Officer
Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Genevieve Smyth's presentation about political awareness and influencing for occupational therapists. May 2010

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Influencing as a leadership and political skill

  1. 1. College of Occupational Therapists Influencing as a leadership and political skill Genevieve Smyth 18 th May 2010
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>The where, why and how </li></ul><ul><li>of influence </li></ul>
  3. 3. Definitions <ul><li>To influence </li></ul><ul><li>To affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves or thinks, for example, she's very good at making friends and influencing people or what influenced you to choose a career in occupational therapy? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Definitions <ul><li>Politics </li></ul><ul><li>A process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to behaviour within governments, but politics has been observed in other group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions. It consists of social relations involving authority or power and refers to the regulation of a political unit [ and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Is the profession political? <ul><li>Occupational therapy regarded itself until recently as an apolitical profession. However, during the first years of the century OTs began to be concerned with a range of political questions as they expressed dissatisfaction with the way in which practice is constrained by events outside their control. </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational therapy, indeed all of health and social care is inescapably political. Just as OTs are social activists in opening up occupational opportunities they are also agents of social control (Pollard et al 2008) </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Who or where do you want </li></ul><ul><li>to influence? </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Why do you want to have </li></ul><ul><li>more influence? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Why influence? <ul><li>Externally focused ambitions: </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the service user experience </li></ul><ul><li>Add something to the development of the profession </li></ul><ul><li>Make systems more efficient, more client centred, more occupation focused </li></ul><ul><li>Draw attention to problems, protect people </li></ul><ul><li>Share good practice, good ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Help other professionals develop and succeed </li></ul><ul><li>(Cook 2007) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why influence? <ul><li>Internally focused ambitions: </li></ul><ul><li>A higher status job, promotion </li></ul><ul><li>To be regarded as an expert in your field </li></ul><ul><li>More money, benefits, travel, autonomy, </li></ul><ul><li>To change career direction </li></ul><ul><li>Start a business </li></ul><ul><li>To be invited to award ceremonies and gala dinners </li></ul><ul><li>(Cook 2007) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Think about a time when you have tried to influence an individual or a meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>What were the factors that effected how successful this was? </li></ul>
  11. 11. How to influence <ul><li>Develop awareness in your chosen area </li></ul><ul><li>Your reputation precedes you –do the simple things well and treat others well </li></ul><ul><li>Develop and nurture your networks. Treat everything as an opportunity. </li></ul><ul><li>Find useful allies </li></ul><ul><li>Get the message right </li></ul>
  12. 12. How to influence <ul><li>Ask for what you want </li></ul><ul><li>Find the right person to speak to and consider their hooks </li></ul><ul><li>Use evidence to support your message, both qualitative and quantitative </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the human element </li></ul><ul><li>Create opportunities, take calculated risks </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>What are some ways that you could develop your awareness of a chosen area? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Domains of awareness <ul><li>Professional - Standards of practice and conduct, size of your professional group, current union concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Clinical – who are the leading people, where is leading edge practice happening, size of client group </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational – who heads up your service, which board member do therapies report to, how much money gets spent on your area of practice </li></ul><ul><li>Policy – which government department makes the policy decisions that most effect your areas of work, what is the policy issue of the moment </li></ul><ul><li>(Cook 2008) </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>If you want to influence, who should be in your network? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Tips on networking <ul><li>Networking is a bit like keeping friendships, it takes time and effort and nurturing (Joanna Parker) </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to engage more widely than your own organisation and your own occupational group- you must network outside your comfort zone (Alison Norman) </li></ul><ul><li>Network with the right people –information sources, power brokers. Give out your details freely. Keep a note of contacts and use them (Fran Woodard) </li></ul><ul><li>(Cook 2008) </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>What do you want to ask for? </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>How are you going to ask? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Summary <ul><li>The why, where and how of influence </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>0207 450 5220 </li></ul>
  21. 21. References <ul><li>Cook R (2007) Awareness and influence in health and social care –How you can really make a difference . Oxon: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Pollard N, Sakellariou D, Kronenberg F (eds) (2009) A political practice of occupational therapy . Europe: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier </li></ul>

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