The King’s Fund has published a new briefing paper, Caring to change: How compassionate leadership can stimulate innovation in health care.


The paper, which Michael West co-authored with Gina Eckert, Ben Collins and Rachna Chowla, looks at compassion as a core cultural value of the NHS and how compassionate leadership results in a working environment that encourages people to find new and improved ways of doing things.

Key findings from Kings Fund

  • Compassionate leadership activities have many positive outcomes, at all levels of the health sector, from individuals and teams, to organisations and the system as a whole.
  • Staff are more likely to find new and improved ways of doing things if they feel they are listened to, valued and supported as this provides a sense of psychological safety.
  • Giving staff autonomy in their work is also important, along with developing a shared responsibility – a shared leadership is much more effective than a hierarchical one.
  • Positive attitudes to diversity, to inclusion and to creativity and innovation must be nurtured at every level of the organisation.
  • Innovation is often spurred by a challenge or a problem and compassionate leadership is a powerful facilitator at each stage of the problem-solving process.