What do we do with them now: self-reported motivations and outcomes of participation in organisational leadership development programs

Ms Katelyn Clarke1, Catherine  Stephens1, Liza Jane  McBride1

1Queensland Health

Background: Despite a significant increase in the availability of leadership development programs for allied health professionals within Queensland Health, there remains low allied health representation in senior executive positions prompting a review of current leadership development strategies. The first phase involved an exploratory study of allied health staff who had participated in statewide Queensland Health clinician leadership programs. The study aimed to understand the self-reported motivations for applying and participating in the programs, leadership behaviours before and after participation and leadership opportunities following program completion.

Methods: A post-pre design customised online survey was distributed to participants of programs run in the last two financial years (n=209). Qualitative responses were themed and participant characteristics collated.

Results: All participants were focused on, and motivated by the potential for professional development, career progression, skill building and the desire to be competent in their current role. Most participants reported their line manager had no specific leadership expectations of them following program completion. Formal higher duties opportunities post program completion did not increase although 31.6% of respondents that did do higher duties reported participation influenced their decision to accept the opportunity. Over half of respondents reported taking on new informal leadership roles with the majority being self-initiated rather than being offered or suggested by their line manager.

Discussion: This study highlights the motivations and outcomes of allied health participants of organisation leadership development programs. It suggests program participation is seen more as individual professional development rather than the programs themselves being integrated into service level leadership development strategies and succession planning.


Katelyn Clarke is a senior policy officer in the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland and has experience across multiple clinical and strategic policy settings in the Queensland public sector. She has a Bachelor of Oral Health and a dual Masters in Health Management and Public Health. While studying she developed a special interest in health system leadership and its implications for consumer health outcomes

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