This time last week, Laura Golding and I were privileged to be in Santander, Spain presenting on the PPN. This was a journey that took a day to get there and a day to get back as there did not appear to be any winter flights directly to Santander from the North of England. We flew from Manchester to London, then from London to Madrid and then on to Santander. In total, three flights and two taxis and lots of walking around airports (steps targets met!). The only things missing transport-wise were trains and boats but there were plenty of boats to be seen in the harbour at Santander. It was strange being at work in Santander – it didn’t look like work (or anywhere I have worked) and it felt like it should have been a holiday but we were there with work colleagues and we did do some work too!
So why were we in Santander in November? This came about via an invited symposium on Leadership development for clinical psychologists coordinated by Helen Pote from Royal Holloway in London. It was supported by the British Psychological Society and two of the four presentations focused on leadership development for newly qualified clinical psychologists (Helen Pote) and mentoring for senior leaders (Esther Cohen-Tovee, chair of DCP UK). The third presentation by Lorna Farquharson was on the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Services jointly led by the BPS and Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Our presentation focused on interprofessional networks for leadership and Laura and I described the work of the network. We highlighted the various leadership development initiatives the network has developed or collaborated with CPWD to deliver. These included the IAPT Leadership & Innovation forum, leadership training for early career professionals and the transformational change programme for senior leaders. The last two are multi-professional with our CPWD colleagues and it was good to highlight our work within this wider context. We also spoke about the network itself as a leadership development. The premise for this is based on the maturity of networks and how the PPN leads by providing a voice for psychological professions. The PPN provides a focus for our many voices and a way of making them louder, focused and more influential. Also, as members we advocate and promote the network which contributes to increasing voice and influence. As members and across all the special interest groups and the workforce board as well as our annual conference, we share and create knowledge which again adds to the richness and depth of what we can offer. With these, our leadership becomes distributed and collective and we can all represent and contribute to the voice of psychological professions because of shared aims. This contributes to a network that develops towards becoming self-sustaining.
The image that comes to my mind is of a voice that develops depth and resonance and projection – whether as a singer or actor and our network is that developing voice. Our collective contribution to that voice means that we contribute to its depth and body. So, perhaps we are now a choir rather than a small group of singers and as such can have a greater influence because of what we bring collectively. As a choir, we contribute to the song as a whole but our knowledge and expertise in different areas means we have greater breadth and not just one or two notes.
Being in Santander was an opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved as a network and also to have the space and time to talk with colleagues and conference attendees about networks and leadership development. I felt privileged to be there and appreciative of BPS support that supported our attendance.