Great leaders are essential at every level of any organisation, but this is particularly the case in health and social care. When you’re responsible for the care of society’s most vulnerable people, it’s so important to ensure that strong leadership runs through the whole structure of your organisation – influencing behaviour from the top down.
Care home leadership
When it comes to a care home environment, leadership shapes not only the quality of the environment itself but also the quality of the care provided. Primary care providers will be influenced by their scheme managers, who will, in turn, be influenced by their regional managers, who will in turn be influenced by people at the director level, and so on.
What’s more, health and social care is a very dynamic industry, constantly evolving and presenting new challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic created a huge shift in the industry, totally changing the way we work and operate. For example, we’ve seen new and innovative types of service utilising digital channels, and new restrictions have changed how care can be delivered.
Being able to cope and adapt to such industry changes relies heavily on strong leaders, who are needed to guide their teams through the process. This involves clear direction and decision-making at the leadership level, to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately, goals are set, and priorities are established.
Industry changes can often throw up ethical issues too, and a strong leader must be able to consider these and guide their teams in making morally sound decisions. Leading by example is perhaps the best way to do this, so people working at the management level need to demonstrate ethical behaviour that prioritises the well-being of clients.y
Hiring a good leader
When it comes to hiring a good health and social care leader, it’s important to know what qualities you’re looking for. First and foremost, making sure that person will want to provide excellent care for your clients and staff is key – if they don’t have high standards of care and ethics, and act with integrity, neither will the people they manage.
An ability to juggle priorities is also key for a leader, as well as being a good communicator to stakeholders at all levels, whether this is clients, family members or directors.
In the hiring process, it often helps to base your decision-making on the applicant’s experience, rather than their qualifications. Although qualifications are important, the health and social care industry is very practical and knowing someone has industry knowledge and experience can be more valuable.
Strong leadership in action
Strong leadership is often evidenced through exceptional results, and this is something that we’ve seen at Select Lifestyles, as one of our residential care homes significantly improved its CQC rating due to the work of our leadership team.
Stratford Road in Solihull, West Midlands, is a six-bedroom residential care home for adults with severe learning disabilities and health needs. Due to the work of Stratford Road’s Scheme Manager, Samantha Morrison, and Deputy Manager, Nanette Kirkham, the CQC rating has improved from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’ – with the ratings running from Inadequate, Requires Improvement, Good and Outstanding.
To do this, the leadership team fostered an ‘all in this together’ approach, putting themselves into the support worker role. This saw them carry out the responsibilities associated with this role, ensuring clients received the best care possible. They clearly outlined their priorities and maintained a relentless desire to achieve these, which played a big part in improving the overall quality of the service. They also implemented 1-2-1 staff meetings, staff observations and an employee of the month incentive to help boost morale within the service.
As a result, the leadership team has transformed this service back into a safe home for clients and a safe work environment for staff, at the same time as retaining all the clients using the service.
The positive impact that good leadership can have on health and social care organisations is clear to see. If your leaders are caring, understanding and good communicators, you’ll reap the rewards for both your staff and the people you’re caring for.
As seen in The Carer: https://thecareruk.com/strong-leadership-how-does-this-go-hand-in-hand-with-excellent-client-care/