Guide for Midwifery Leadership

Association, Leadership
Last Edited 4 January 2024 14:28 CET

By ensuring that there are the right midwifery leadership systems, structures, roles and people in the right places, a country will ensure that its maternity services will go from strength to strength, improving the health of childbearing women and their families for generations to come.  

When we describe ‘midwifery leadership’, we mean the systems, structures, roles and people needed to provide leadership for the midwifery profession and the development of high-quality maternity services in any country.    

Principles of midwifery leadership

This guide sets out the recommendation that every country works towards establishing midwifery leaders in six key areas: political strategic leadership, operational, regulatory, education, research and clinical leadership.

For midwifery leadership to be effective, it must be underpinned by the principles of effective leadership; that is the skills to inspire, influence, advocate, collaborate, communicate, challenge the status-quo, be accountable, and demonstrate compassion (ICM Professional Framework, 2022)

Strong, effective, compassionate midwifery leadership is founded on investment in and a commitment to growing leaders. The roots of strong and compassionate leadership start in the initial education of midwifery students, and this should continue to be nurtured throughout midwives’ careers. Junior and newly qualified midwives should be supported and encouraged to see themselves as leaders of the profession, understanding that leadership diffuses into all layers and sections of any team.