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Leading through uncertain times – dance in the rain: The experience of the NHS workforce‐review team

Judy Curson (Public‐health physician with many years' experience working in the National Health Service, and was Director of the NHS Workforce‐Review Team until July 2010)
Heather Parnell (Was a member of the NHS Workforce‐Review Team for six years)

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 19 October 2010




Explores the challenges faced in leading organizations through times of uncertainty and how a positive approach can result in expansion.


Examines how a positive and open approach to a lengthy period of uncertainty preceding takeover resulted in significant growth and expansion and lower‐than‐expected staff turnover. Considers the significance of stable leadership, the importance of looking after and continuing to develop staff, and how expanding the horizons of both the organization and staff can grow the business. Looks at the importance of open and constant communication at all levels, and the value of team‐building activities in maintaining staff morale.


Reveals that staff value honesty and transparency in times of uncertainty and respond positively to leadership stability and a strong lead to continue to look forward and expand both the business and their personal horizons through taking on new and exciting challenges.

Practical implications

Shows how an active response to uncertainty and change can provide the impetus for business expansion and continued staff development at a time when these would more naturally be expected to remain static or contract.

Social implications

Emphasizes that, in times of difficulty or uncertainty, it is essential that staff continue to feel valued as individuals and team members.


Argues strongly that leaders must rise to the challenge when guiding an organization through uncertain times, resisting the temptation to “sit out the storm.”



Curson, J. and Parnell, H. (2010), "Leading through uncertain times – dance in the rain: The experience of the NHS workforce‐review team", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 6-8.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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