At the Care Provider’s Round Table in September Julie Hopkins spoke about what makes a good care leader and referred to Skills for Care’s guide to delivering good and outstanding care, which focuses on leadership. Here are her thoughts.
What is an effective leader?
They are someone who creates an inspiring vision of the future; motivates and inspires people; manages the delivery of the vision; and coaches and builds a team which is effective in achieving the vision.
How do you create an inspiring vision?
The vision provides direction and sets priorities. In a care business, it should ensure that person-centered care and values lie at the heart of the service. Support staff should understand and embrace the vision. How does the leader help people to deliver the vision? By motivating and inspiring the people around them. A good leader will put the people who require care and support at the heart of the service, which will create a positive culture. How do you create high staff satisfaction? Never underestimate the power of saying ‘thank you’! Encourage career development, be a role model, and empower your staff.
How do you manage the delivery of the vision?
Leaders and managers need the experience and ability to run a successful care business. This means understanding CQC standards; creating performance goals and clear lines of accountability; being proactive, and making use of the whole team. How do leaders build a strong team? It doesn’t happen overnight, but some top tips are: to have procedures which help you to attract the best staff; to give and receive regular feedback (such as 360-degree feedback, see below); to provide training which enhances both individuals and the team; and to value your staff. Don’t forget to build strong links with local schools/colleges and within the community, as these are your next generation of care staff.
What is 360-degree Feedback?
This process gathers feedback from a number of sources, usually including self-assessment, peers, direct reports and more senior colleagues. The respondents chosen to give feedback are asked a number of questions about their views on the person, and this information is then collated and presented back to the person and their line manager for discussion at their appraisal. It is a great tool for self-awareness and recognising strengths and opportunities, and can be particularly useful in the care sector when considering succession planning. You may also be able to get feedback from other sources such as residents and relatives.
You should only offer feedback which is helpful to the recipient rather than harmful. Here are some tips to consider if you are asked to respond:
Be honest, try to be neither overly critical or overly positive
Think about how your answers and comments could be received by the person. Empathise by putting yourself in their shoes – how would it feel to get this feedback, is it fair, honest and helpful?
Make sure that you are clear, specific and that the person will be able to understand the feedback as you intended it
Speak for yourself, basing your ratings or comments on your own personal experiences, rather than on hearsay or gossip
Focus on the questions, basing your ratings and comments on the questions that are being asked.
Is there anything else I should think about?
Issac Theophilos, author of ‘How to get outstanding? An ultimate guide for care homes’ advocates that care home owners ensure that their Managers have enough support to fulfill their roles effectively. This means identifying all the tasks which they undertake, and deciding which can be done by other people to allow the Manager to spend more time with the staff and residents and improve the quality of care delivered.
Regular contact with the Manager means that their additional efforts do not go unrecognised. Finally, encourage Managers and leaders to help themselves by focusing on the good; having switch-off time, and being as healthy as possible.