Leadership development in the Midland District Health Boards

Future workforce development is crucial in health and it is known that leadership in any organisation is directly related to the organisation's success.

Each Midland DHB (Waikato, BOP, Lakes, Tairawhiti and Taranaki) has its own unique approach to developing leadership through the use of formal education, coaching/mentoring, short courses, work placements and other assignments. However, in 2005/2006 a Midland wide approach was undertaken and Midland DHBs collaborated to develop and sustain two formal Leadership Programmes: Leadership in Practice and Midland Health Leaders Advanced.

This joining together offers many advantages, including:

  • resource combination i.e. time, funds and expertise
  • greater numbers to increase frequency of learning initiatives
  • networking, coaching and mentoring opportunities
  • seeing how other DHBs function
  • continuity of leadership/management skills across the region
  • high level of quality control and opportunity for closer partnerships with providers
  • a leadership learning structure that will be available long term.

What is leadership and why does it matter?

Leadership is different from management. Leadership is the quality we look for to guide us through change in complex environments with uncertain futures and changing/competing societal values…Management…is the quality we utilise in simple and/or complicated environments, characterised by contexts with a somewhat predictable future, addressing problems we have seen before and grounded in essentially stable social values. In these environments, the manager’s task is primarily a matter of organising, planning and controlling resources to build that future…both leadership and management are required. Leadership is needed to set direction and management to help us get there

Dickson, G., Briscoe, B., Fenwick, S., MacLeod, Z & Romilly, L., 2007, p. 7

In today’s health environment a balance of leadership and management capabilities is necessary. The health care environment is complex, and unlike most other organisations, measures of effectiveness are not based on sales and profits, but rather on quality of patient care, patient health outcomes and experiences, and the health of the communities it serves.

The National Leadership Domains Framework

A common and consistent approach to leadership development across New Zealand health systems is an essential component to achieving high value quality care that is responsive and sustainable. The national leadership domains framework was designed as a tool to support such an approach.

The national leadership domains framework is the result of a careful comparison of existing leadership and management capability/competency frameworks in use in New Zealand District Health Boards. It reflects areas of commonality across these frameworks, and has been validated by further comparison against well-established international models in use in comparable health care settings.

The national leadership domains framework outlines the final set of common leadership capabilities/competencies (sub-domains), classified into five leadership domains. The framework is applicable across clinical and non-clinical roles. It identifies common skills necessary for effective performance in all types and levels of leadership roles in healthcare.

A core set of capabilities across health professions will ultimately support and enhance the quality of healthcare. It will achieve this by ensuring a consistent approach to leadership development, based on shared organisational leadership expectations, and use of a common language.

The national leadership domains framework was mapped against the content of both Midland leadership programmes. Mapping showed the ability to align the domains and sub-domains with the programme content thus demonstrating that the framework could enable a DHB to maintain existing tools and competency models.

Application process and further enquiries

To enquire about the application process for Health Leaders Advanced or Leadership in Practice, email your DHB contact:



1. Be a values leader
  • Understand own leadership style and demonstrate self-awareness
  • Develop self
  • Display trust and integrity
  • Be resilient and adaptable
2. Engage Others
  • Develop others
  • Motivate and empower others
  • Demonstrate care and respect
  • Communicate effectively
  • Foster a positive culture
3. Develop coalitions
  • Build constructive relationships
  • Create opportunities for thinking and working across boundaries
  • Promote and demonstrate diversity of thinking, ideas and approaches
  • Display team work and lead collaboratively
4. Leading care
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of care and the needs of those providing and receiving care
  • Connect DHBs purpose and values to unit’s work
  • Model responsibility and accountability
  • Identify & implement strategy and tactics for achieving the purpose
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Maximise the contribution of all staff to identify and remove barriers to addressing inequalities
  • Achieve results related to the provision of great care
5. Mobilise system improvement
  • Establish evidence based decisions
  • Enable a culture of continuous improvements
  • Establish the change imperative
  • Demonstrate organisational and political agility
  • Identify innovations and support their adoption
  • Nurture organisational learning – i.e. the capture and transfer of new knowledge

This page was last updated on: 09.03.2017 at 19.41