Dr Clare Gerada, the first female chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners for 50yrs, recalls an advise sheet given to her in 2010 entitled “survival”. This is published in the British Medical Journal 30th January 2021. The tips she gives are as follows
Find like minded people in the organisation to give feedback and early warning of problems. Create a support group of friends or colleagues and a mentor or coach/counsellor. If things go badly your group should support first and share advice later.
Ensure enough time one to one with key people of influence, and accept discussions will take place in other settings
Consider and write down your aims before the meetings. Decide the red lines you will not cross based on your values. Ensure key points are recorded for later reference. Be a subtle self publicist.
Deal with overt discrimination by successive questioning and keep cool. “Could you clarify exactly what you mean”.
If bullied step back, recognise and look at how to counter it, as if in a consultation. In public meetings, speak steadily, calmly and monitor your body language. Avoid gossip by keeping personal issues to yourself.
Use a reflective diary to review, learn and understand. Things won’t always go right, don’t beat yourself up, accept it is normal to be upset, be open about it and use the learning to build on the experience. Give yourself time to recover after difficult meetings or media discussions.
Source: Clare Gerada Tips for surviving leadership BMJ 2021;372;n195 30th January