Authors: Jacinta Sherlock & Nic Juniper
Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide
Subject: Collaborative Leadership and Unified Power
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: As the new mental health and wellbeing system continues to evolve, new ways of thinking are integral to ensuring that services maintain a humane, rights focused approach, which caters to the needs of all communities.
Systems and institutions in Australia are hierarchical in nature, where power is held predominately at the top, amongst a select few with professional titles and positions of privilege. Everybody has the right to have their voices heard and perspectives included, however, people from marginalised communities have been historically left out of conversations by those with power over them. To effectively engage people with lived experience in service design, delivery, and evaluation, we need to rethink the way that we conceptualise power, and acknowledge that unification requires giving up, sharing and recreating new power.
The Australian Government has voiced a commitment to working with consumers through the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s Partnering with Consumers Standard and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
These recommendations include involving people with lived experience/consumers in many stages of service reform, with a strong focus on co-design and co-production. Whilst involvement is an important first step towards an equitable and humane system, we need people with lived expertise working in positions of power to fully achieve a new system which serves all the people. We propose that through genuine, non-tokenistic collaboration we can effectively create new power structures which combine both lived and learned expertise at all levels of decision making.
Unified Power acknowledges that everyone brings their own power to the table accumulated through their lived, life and learned experiences. In order to work towards equitable systems change, we need to address and redistribute power to enhance collaborative leadership across the health and human service delivery landscape.
Our aim is to introduce Collaborative Leadership and Unified Power as a new model within the mental health and wellbeing system. This engaging workshop will support participants to deepen their awareness of power dynamics and understand the role of power in developing collaborative partnerships through theory, reflective small group discussions exploring aspects of power within the health system context.
Pierro, A., Raven, B. H., Amato, C., & Bélanger, J. J. (2013). Bases of social power, leadership styles, and organizational commitment. International Journal of Psychology, 48(6), 1122–1134. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2012.733398