With the words ‘Good leaders create followers, but great leaders create leaders’ ringing in my ears, the 13th RCM Zepherina Veitch Memorial Lecture came to a close.
Delivered by the charismatic Professor Sheila Hunt, Cardiff University’s dean and head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, and held in memory of one of the profession’s pioneers, the lecture focused on what makes a good leader, and why the quality of an individual and their capacity to lead depends on the management and care a person has of themselves.
‘The best leaders have learnt to manage themselves: they know what makes them tick… Great leaders have phenomenal self-belief. They do what they are paid to do and always more,’ said Professor Hunt. She then went on to explore what could be the key reason behind an individual’s inability to lead effectively – low emotional intelligence. According to Daniel Goleman’s pioneering Emotional Intelligence
(1995), it is made up of self-awareness, management of emotions, motivation, empathy and social skills. Professor Hunt used these elements to encourage delegates to assess their own emotional intelligence to great effect.
Introducing Sigmund Freud’s ‘id’, ‘ego’ and ‘super ego’ into the melting pot and applying them to management and leadership, Professor Hunt then challenged us to reflect on our own egos and the reasons behind why we may treat others unfairly. The answer? Our fears and anxieties.
The lecture also addressed the virtues of high emotional intelligence. Such people ‘have the capacity to soothe themselves. They have the ability to be able to keep an emotional perspective.’
Professor Hunt’s personal reflections on leadership provided a fitting end to the lecture. She advised: ‘Recruit the best people, always better than you. Celebrate success. Don’t aim to be popular, aim instead to be respected and hope to be trusted. Listen carefully. Keep your promises. Be able to say you’re sorry.’
The annual event is also an opportunity for general secretary Cathy Warwick to speak to members about the RCM’s achievements over the past year. With the message that the RCM has more members now than it has ever had, Cathy’s speech, with the theme ‘More’, was warmly received. Celebrating membership at its highest ever, Cathy described how new ventures such as the RCM Communities and i-learn are transforming services for members. She described the RCM’s increased visibility and political activity, the launch of campaigns such as ‘Protect maternity services’ and how new evidence backs the RCM’s work and lobbying.
Cathy also thanked the RCM workplace representatives – ‘the lifeblood of the College’ – and staff. She concluded: ‘I hope I have reassured you that you are part of a strong and vibrant membership organisation that is well-equipped to continue to work on all the challenges that we are facing.’
Many of Cathy’s sentiments were echoed by RCM UK Board for Wales director Helen Rogers, who outlined the RCM’s Wales-specific efforts in relation to partnerships forged, consultations and campaigning.
Recognising their outstanding contribution to the profession, RCM president Liz Stephens presented obstetrician Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, Monica Thompson and Dora Kwatiorkor Opoku (posthumously) with RCM honorary fellowships, while successful Ruth Davis bursary candidates Helen Barnes, Kelda Hargreaves and Kim Russell (who was there in person) were congratulated by both Liz and Sue Millar from bursary sponsor Bounty.
RCM chair of Council Debby Gould provided a fitting end to the event with a series of photographs set to music encapsulating RCM activity over the preceding 12 months.
Professor Sheila Hunt’s lecture and Cathy Warwick’s annual address are available on the RCM website as a podcast. Please visit: www.rcm.org.uk/college/about/media-centre/audio-centre
Goleman D. (1995) Emotional intelligence.
Bantam Books: New York.
Husseini A. (2010) Emotional intelligence
. See: www.citehr.com/110184-emotional-intelligence.html
(accessed 16 June 2011).