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Implementing Recovery-based Care: Tangible Guidance for SMHAs - page 5 / 44





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NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

or antagonistic to these recovery values. The leader who anchors her or himself in the recovery values can ensure that system functions must pass through this “value funnel.”

For example, a system mission characterized by the recovery values of self-determination/choice, people first, and growth potential would be: “To assist people to improve their functioning so that they are successful and satisfied in the environment of choice.” A system mission that is unresponsive to all the recovery values might be: “To provide continuous and comprehensive services to mentally ill clients.”

Similarly, a policy consistent with all four recovery values might be: “People will have the opportunities and help necessary to choose and plan for those services they want to promote their recovery.” Conversely, a policy not passing through the recovery funnel might be: “People must be on psychiatric medication in order to access any residential services used by the mentally ill that are funded with state dollars.”

Another positive policy example that is consistent with all the recovery values is: “Any person with a severe mental illness who wants vocational services will receive them.” In contrast, a negative policy example with respect to self-determination/choice and full partnership might be: “People will undergo a specific test battery before being accepted into vocational services.”  

A leader makes sure that the system’s major operations, be they clinical or managerial, are supportive of recovery values. A clinical process that values self-determination cannot co-exist with a management process that values obedience and control. It is through the explication of values that the leader shows what is important to the organization, and defines the corridors in which the state organization functions. In a state attempting to make the massive vision shift from forestalling people’s deterioration to promoting people’s recovery, the leader’s vision and corresponding values must be clear, they must evoke passion, and have consensus throughout the organization.

To implement a recovery vision in their respective states, leaders can be guided by the eight principles of leadership from Table 1. Simply put, recovery initiatives will not occur and be embedded within the system without effective statewide leadership. As pointed out by Kouzes & Posner (1995) leadership development is ultimately self-development.  Musicians may have their instruments, and engineers may have their computers, and accountants may have their calculators, but leaders only have themselves.  

Leaders are the instruments for system change to recovery. Leaders, through their words and actions, fill in the details of the recovery vision. The leaders’ metaphors, the anecdotes, the traditions, the celebrations of recovery successes all serve to elaborate on the vision’s significance. These elaborations make it easier for followers to be attracted to the vision to which leaders are committed.

Fortunately, current leaders can learn to be even better leaders in the implementation of the recovery vision. Good leaders are born and made—being born is the more mysterious part! Leaders can develop by accessing and using information on recovery, i.e. by observing what their colleagues are doing, by reading and attending conferences about

NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

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