Incoming IHM president William McKee attacked 'naming and shaming' and 'red lights' in his inaugural speech to the institute.

Mr McKee told conference that 'as a hardened, gnarled chief executive', leadership was one of the issues he felt 'really passionate' about.

It was 'not about naming and shaming' and 'not about red lights', he told members. Nor was it about 'lonely hero figures'.

Instead, Mr McKee called for 'evidence-based leadership'. Leaders should 'enable others to act' and leadership was 'closely interwoven with trust and confidence'. Rather than 'a few charismatic outsiders', leadership called for 'ordinary people like us'.

Mr McKee pointed to 'paradoxes' in the NHS plan: it 'states correctly that local hospitals cannot be run from Whitehall', while much of it in fact reflected a centralised approach.

Decisions were best taken closest to where they would have an impact, he said. Mr McKee said the IHM's voice had been 'all too muted' in recent years, particularly in relation to the national plan.

Employers should know that IHM members were managers who were qualified, committed to keeping up-to-date and had a 'commitment to a code of professional conduct', IHM was 'a badge of pride' , he said.