Practitioners often ‘fall into’ leadership (Heard, 2014), yet we need to intentionally develop leadership skills so we can maximise our impact on the lived experience of displaced people.

How will we know there’s enough leadership in this field of practice?

There will be:

  • safe and ethical practice with displaced people,
  • practitioners who contribute to the field of practice not just their individual role,
  • capability to grasp strategic opportunities as a field of practice.

Perhaps many challenges experienced in occupational therapy practice (Murray, Turpin, Edwards & Jones, 2015) could be prevented or remediated with a stronger ecosystem of leadership in the field of practice.

We can develop leadership everyday because leadership includes leading self as well as leading others and navigating organisations and systems (Walker, Wilcox, Powell & Muir, 2017). Leadership contributions can be at micro, meso or macro levels within a field of practice and society (Dunbar & Winston, 2015).

Wherever your starting point, you can use the Healthcare Leadership Model to take stock, and help you see where what to develop next.  

Leadership itself is a process of using social influence to realise a goal. 

And learning leadership is also a social process – we need each other!

Opportunities to get started:

What can OOFRAS do to help grow leadership? We’re listening!


Dunbar, S. & Winston, K. (Eds). (2015). An Occupational Perspective on Leadership; Theoretical and practical dimensions (2nd Ed). New Jersey, NJ: Slack Incorporated.

Heard, C. (2014). Choosing the Path of Leadership in Occupational Therapy. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2 (1), Article 2. Retrieved from: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com.au/&httpsredir=1&article=1055&context=ojot

Murray, C., Turpin, M., Edwards, I. &  Jones, M.  (2015). A qualitative meta-synthesis about challenges experienced in occupational therapy practice. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 78 (9), 534 – 546. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark_Jones27/publication/280239836_A_qualitative_meta-synthesis_about_challenges_experienced_in_occupational_therapy_practice/links/56fb2c7008ae8239f6dadaba/A-qualitative-meta-synthesis-about-challenges-experienced-in-occupational-therapy-practice.pdf

Walker, A., Wilcox. T., Powell, A., & Muir, K. (2017). The Navigator: Your guide to leadership for social purpose. Sydney, Australia: The Centre for Social Impact. Retrieved from: https://www.csi.edu.au/media/uploads/csi_the_navigator_final_web.pdf