NHS Peer Leadership Academy (Part III)

This is Part III of a three-part series about my experience of the NHS Peer Leadership Academy. Click here for Part I and here for Part II.

The last two days of the Peer Leadership Academy were awesome and really full-on, but also a tiny bit sad. It’s surprising how well you feel like you get to know people when you do something like this together!

The first part of Tuesday focussed on the Myers-Briggs stuff again. As a light-hearted reminder of which “type” we fitted into, they showed us these two charts. I was amused to discover that I’m an “intricately decorated cupcake” and a weaver bird! Not quite sure what I think about that!?

After this, we did some work around communication skills, and how people’s preferred methods of communication vary according to their personality traits. For instance, my type, ISFJ, tends to like email or face to face communication (fairly accurate for a phone-hater like me!). We like all the details of the situation clearly set out so we can see exactly what we’re being told or asked to do, as well as the reasoning behind it. This sounds really basic, but it was actually very interesting. I’d always just assumed that my preferences were “normal” and how everybody would like to be communicated with! Apparently not! Definitely something to think about, and something which might lead me to change the way I write or speak to other people from now on!

We then looked at how different personality types respond to change as well as how they deal with conflict resolution. I had come across some aspects of this before, while studying education at university, but it was interesting to go through it again with my own perspective in mind.

After lunch, we talked a bit about the national strategic co-production group, which we will be able to apply to join after the academy finishes. At the moment, I’m not sure whether I will, as I’m slightly nervous about balancing the time commitment alongside everything else I do, but we’ll see, watch this space I suppose!

I’m adding the Keynote slides for my presentation below, so you can see the gist of what I said. While content itself wasn’t very different to what I’ve said before (other than being very condensed!) it was interesting to speak to this type of audience! Usually, the audiences I talk to are medical professionals, people interesting in organ donation or a random collection of other patients. I very seldom get feedback from these audiences, and when I do, it commonly consists of how “brilliant”, “amazing” and “inspiring” I am. Flattering, but not particularly useful.

This is why I was looking forward to speaking to this group. I knew that they weren’t just there to listen to my message, but to give me constructive feedback! Content-wise, I’m fairly open, I don’t mind being honest about things I’ve experienced and struggled with, however I often feel like a lack of confidence holds me back.

As it turned out, the feedback I got from the rest of the group was hugely positive anyway, the only thing that was mentioned was that I would be able to build a stronger connection with the audience if I relied less on notes. Looks like I will be testing this out next time I’m asked to speak somewhere!

Wednesday was the final day of the academy, which was really sad! We spent a lot of time on this day reflecting on what we’d done and learned. This turned out to be a lot! We covered loads in six days!

If I had to describe the Peer Leadership Academy in one word, I think it would be Empowering. I’m certainly inspired to continue everything I’m already doing, as well as to get involved in some new things as well! The only question is how I’m going to fit everything in!?

Also, if anybody in 2019 or beyond is Googling for information while deciding whether to apply to attend the academy, I would definitely advise you to go for it! You might not take away from it exactly the same things as I did, but it’s a brilliant experience and one I’m very glad to have had!

A slightly awkward picture of our wonderful group…having successfully located the most poorly lit place in the hotel in which to take our photo!