‘Forty years ago, when I was a junior doctor, I decided to speak up about a consultant’s malpractice. I went into a senior clinician’s office, explained what I had seen and was then told in no uncertain terms ‘young man, if you value your future career, you will desist immediately with these claims’. So, I did. And it still haunts me today.’
This story is among thousands we have heard in the National Health Service (NHS). Unfortunately, this kind of situation is not relegated to the past—among stories of real promise and heroic action, the NHS is still grappling with issues of bullying, harassment, exclusion and malpractice. Crucially and similar to the numerous organisations we have examined globally and across every industry sector, leaders are still falling into a critical trap that thwarts their ability to improve the situation.