If Martians landed in the NHS and said to a doctor at random, “Take me to your leader”, what would he/she do? Personally, I would probably stammer, “Err, what do you mean? Do you mean the person I think is the head of my professional body (President of the Royal College), or the Chief Executive of the Trust I work in? Perhaps you mean my Clinical Director or is it the Medical Director? On the other hand, maybe it should be the Chief Medical Officer; no wait, what about the NHS’s Medical Director? That can’t be right, it must be the General Secretary of the BMA, or do I mean the GMC?” I imagine by now the Martian will be having second thoughts about visiting!
Is my indecision a symptom of an egalitarian, democratic Utopia where no-one needs to be ‘in charge’ since all are working towards a harmonious, unified goal? Or is it a ‘leaderful’ community, one where everyone takes a leadership responsibility and models great teamwork and mutual encouragement?
I guess no objective observer would ever describe the UK’s NHS as a great example of highly effective leadership. So perhaps my plethora of ‘leaders’ is more of a ‘leader-heavy’ institution, i.e. one where there are more ‘Chiefs than Indians’!