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Be a Listener, Be a Leader by Ahmad El-Mansouri

Be a Listener, Be a Leader

by Ahmad El-Mansouri

Leadership is an abstract concept. Everyone wants to be a good leader, yet very few people can define what that is. We find ourselves thinking of examples, but ultimately there is not one singular formula. Nevertheless, there are definitely characteristics, skills and abilities that we associate with good leadership and understanding these is a useful, practical step to improving our capacity to lead.

However, the 21st century is a busy place to live. People do not have time to dedicate hours of their days to leadership training, and many workplaces do not even offer such training. When it is available, it is difficult to ascertain how much of it is evidence-based and how much is just hearsay. In the current climate, leaders are sought after more than ever, but with so many different resources, you can feel overwhelmed, making the opportunities for learning less effective.

But one thing people are finding more time to do is listening to podcasts. 6.5 million adults in the UK listen to a podcast every week, and that number is climbing. Often seen as a fun, accessible way of digesting bitesize chunks of information, some studies have shown that podcasts can be superior to written text as a method of learning (1).

This, coupled with the need for more resources to tackle the huge topic of leadership skills, inspired the creation of the HLA’s new podcast ‘To Build a Leader’. To Build a Leader was an innovation developed by three scholars of the 2019-20 Healthcare Leadership Academy – Med, Nandi and Tinaye. They sought to deliver a concise educational podcast where they explored skills that they have found essential in their roles as leaders but that they found challenging to master. They point out that although their experiences and training are often clinical, many of the skills they have found most useful, apply to leaders in all walks of life.

‘The key is to appreciate and understand a variety of methods and be able to apply them to the relevant situations as you go along. No one method, skill or attribute fits every situation.’ Over eight episodes, the scholars tackle pertinent issues such as negotiation, team building, innovating and communication. The team talk tactics, timings and practical advice to help listeners improve their own skills. Additionally, an accompanying short guide called ‘Leadernotes’ will be released via the HLAs’s blog for a more complete understanding of each podcast episode and as accessible e-learning resources for future reference.

Join our trio of scholars on our brand-new podcast as they explore the world of leadership. They will use anecdotes, research and experiences to delve into the skills they have found to be essential to leadership in every walk of life. A very warm welcome to all our listeners from the co-creator of To Build a Leader.

References 1. Back D, von Malotky J, Sostmann K, Hube R, Peters H, Hoff E. Superior Gain in Knowledge by Podcasts Versus Text-Based Learning in Teaching Orthopedics: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Surgical Education. 2017;74(1):154-160.


Nandi Mnyama is a final-year medical student at Hull York Medical School and Scholar at the Healthcare Leadership Academy. She is also a Finance Assistant at Integritas Healthcare CIC and is on the Agenda Committee for Medical Student’s Conference at the British Medical Association

Tinaye Mopako is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Liverpool. He is currently undertaking an intercalated degree in bioethics/medical ethics

Ahmad El-Mansouri is a foundation year two doctor at University Hospital Southampton. He undertakes research in medical education and is the co-founder of the Wessex Finals Revision Weekend. He is currently working in general medicine as part of the Covid-19 response.



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