Bringing Leadership to Life in Health: LEADS in a Caring Environment

Over the past few years LEADS has proven to be the go-to leadership framework because it is simple, easily accessible and research informed. It has been adopted widely across Canada and is garnering increased attention in other health systems. The first edition of the LEADS book (Springer 2014) introduced the five domains of the leadership framework: Lead self, Engage others, Achieve results, Develop coalitions and Systems transformation. The second edition highlights how LEADS has been put to productive use across Canada and internationally.

Highlight #1

LEADS is even more relevant today: Bringing Leadership to Life in Health 2020 documents just how important high quality. modern leadership is to integrating services across the continuum of care, creating psychologically healthy workplaces, and prioritizing people-centred service.


Highlight #2

LEADS stands the test of time: LEADS 2020 systematically reviews the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the LEADS framework. Chapters 2 through 4 describe just how important time, place and circumstances are to effective leadership, both in terms of structures and in terms of people.


About the Authors

headshot of Dr. Graham_Dickson

Graham Dickson, PhD (Royal Roads University)

Dr. Dickson is Senior Policy Advisor to the Canadian Health Leadership Network, Research Advisor to the Canadian Society of Physician Executives, and a member of the Health LEADS Collaborative in Canada, a not-for-profit start-up dedicated to enhancing leadership capacity in the health sector. Dr. Dickson also teaches in the Canadian Medical Association’s PMI program, the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrator’s Fellowship program, and is active in the World Federation of Medical Managers. Graham was the founding Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research Roads University. Graham helped develop the Master of Arts in Leadership (Health specialization) at RRU. Currently he is the principal of LEADS Global, a collaborative partnership aimed at growing and developing health leadership across the globe. He is Professor Emeritus Leadership Studies at RRU, and an associate faculty member in the Faculty of Medicine at U of M. Dr. Dickson has been principal investigator a number of cross-Canada research projects leadership in the context of health systems redesign. He was the principal researcher on the work done to create the LEADS in a Caring Environment capabilities framework that is now being used in ten provinces and over 40 national organizations in health, and that has influenced the work of Health LEADS Australia. Dr. Dickson has profiled this work with Bill Tholl, in a book entitled Bringing Leadership to Life in Health Care: LEADS in a Caring Environment, published by Springer Publishing in the UK, in January 2014.

Headshot of Bill Tholl

Bill Tholl O.C., M.A. (Canadian Health Leadership Network)

Until his retirement in July 2017 he served as the Founding President and CEO of HealthCareCAN: the national voice of Canada’s health care organizations and hospitals. Prior to his appointment in March 2014, Bill was Founding Executive Director of the Canadian Health Leadership Network (2009-2014); Executive-In-Residence at Royal Roads University (2008-2012); CEO and Secretary General, Canadian Medical Association (2001-2008); and CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (1995-2001). His early career was with Health and Welfare Canada, serving in several senior roles advising Deputy Ministers and Ministers (1978-1995). Bill is a sought-after speaker, with the Globe and Mail having described him as “Medicare’s Mr. Fix-it” and CHLNet calling him a “leader of leaders” on the Canadian health scene. Bill has written on many topics, most recently as co-author of two books with Dr. Graham Dickson on health leadership: Bringing Leadership to Life in Health: Putting LEADS to Work (2nd Ed. In press, Springer) and Bringing Leadership to Life in Health: LEADS in a Caring Environment (Dickson and Tholl: Springer, 2014). He’s also authored or co-authored a series of articles and monographs, including: Pathway to Professionalizing Health Leadership in Canada: The Two Faces of Janus (Dickson, Van Aerde and Tholl. Healthcare Forum-In press); Taking a value network from concept to reality: Canadian Health Leadership Network (Tholl, Healthcare Forum 2014); and Twenty Tips for Surviving and Prospering in the Association World (Tholl, Weber and Robertson. Monograph. Canadian Society of Association Executives 2010). He is the recipient of numerous national awards, including most recently being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (2019). Bill is a Certified Corporate Director (ICD.D 2009) and currently serves as a trustee on several for-profit and not-for-profit Boards, including with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and Royal College International. Bill has a graduate degree in health economics (University of Manitoba 1979) and has held several academic appointments. He currently teaches in the Fellowship in Health Systems Improvement Program with the University of Alberta. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Bill and his wife, Paula, live in Ottawa and have three children and five grandchildren.

Partners and Collaborators

The Canadian College of Health Leaders along with LEADS Global and the Canadian Health Leadership Network worked closely with the authors and publisher, Springer, to bring leadership to life in health in both Canada and worldwide.

CCHL’s Professional and Leadership Development (PLD) team is a leading provider of healthcare leadership development in Canada and the sole-source provider of LEADS-based leadership development services. 

Learn More

Exclusive Content of the 2nd Edition

  • Featuring five invited chapters on the importance of contextual leadership, underscoring the importance of time, place and circumstance for putting LEADS to work.
  • Drawing on over 30 stories or mini case studies showing how LEADS is being put to work in practice in Canada and abroad.
  • Based on over 100 new, health specific research studies underlining leadership as key to superior organizational and system performance.
  • Documenting the “emancipating effect” of LEADS in terms closing the gender and diversity gaps in health leadership by encouraging leaders to lead from where we are and who we are.
  • Chronicling the effects of technology, demography and ideology – the ‘trifecta of turmoil’ – on leading change and the application of LEADS as a robust model of change.

“There is a consumer revolution coming to health care, along with game-changing technological innovations like artificial intelligence. We can no longer content ourselves with the crisis management approach that has been the norm for so long. In this brave new world, leadership will no longer be about authority and enforcement, but about taking responsibility and having an impact.”

André Picard 
Globe and Mail Health Reporter and Columnist