Being a care home manager is one of the most worthwhile and rewarding jobs you can do. Working in the care sector offers the opportunity to really make a positive difference to people’s lives, and few positions can influence and impact on people in the way that a care home manager can.
Over the next few weeks we will be reflecting on this and sharing some articles with you that hopefully will encourage you to take that next positive step in your career.
We thought a good starting point would be to ask people already doing the job what they think. So we have launched a brief survey inviting managers in the sector to tell us what they think makes a good care home manager. Whilst we are awaiting for responses, we asked for the thoughts of someone who was previously an experienced manager in the care sector before she joined the Access Skills Team.
Celia Moulton, who is head of Programme Development & Experience at Access Skills, has extensive experience in supporting managers in the sector undertaking their leadership and management qualifications and programmes with us. We asked her to share some personal thoughts identifying the qualities that effective care sector managers and leaders should have.
It may be obvious to say, but to be a good effective care sector manager you need to be caring.
You need to be able to deliver and ensure the implementation of good quality person centred care. Show you care about everyone who uses the service, works for the service and have a wider interest in the service. Care about your immediate environment and also the wider community too.
You need to have Courage to challenge age old routines and traditions. To advocate for the needs of service users. To face global pandemics, flooding, staff shortages and Christmas head on. Whilst having an assertive but fair attitude, also having the courage to admit you need help. To forge relationships that support you to get the best for the users of your service.
Compassion to see the world from others points of view. To give support with empathy, respect and dignity. To give and encourage others to give, care that is without judgement and discrimination.
To deal with conflicts that sometimes may seem ridiculous. However, you need compassion to understand why all conflicts, no matter how small, are important to someone.
Communication is key to everything you do. Being able to communicate effectively at multiple levels with the people who use your service, through understanding their methods of communication and ensuring others do too. Understanding the differences that multi-cultural organisations and staffing brings. You also now need a good insight into the world of technology. Emails, internet, operational systems, video conferencing and social media. How to maintain confidentiality, yet know when sharing information is expected. Use communication to improve operational practices and service user provision.
Competency to deliver a quality service. You require skills such as using technology, budgeting, report writing, communication skills, planning and auditing. However, above all else, you need the competency to lead and manage your people team. Whilst coaching and training will help, this can only be gained with experience in the sector. You do not need to know how to do everything, just an understanding of how it is done. Selecting the right people for your support team is essential. Have the confidence to stand up to be counted and to say no when it would be easy to say yes. To be a competent advocate to justify your decisions when they are challenged by others.
Commitment to get up in the morning when you really can’t face another day. To support the people who use your service and your team through the toughest of times. To challenge others, achieve the best outcomes for everyone and to implement change with confidence. To make a difference from day one and throughout your career.
Displaying these qualities will give you every chance to be successful as a care sector manager. With hard work you will achieve good or outstanding outcomes for your service users and have effective working relationships with your team. Developing your skills and experience will take time, but there is help available to support you if you want to draw upon this. For example, Access Skills has a range of management and leadership short courses available as well as qualifications to support senior staff in the sector. Engaging with experienced tutors and also other managers in the sector, can accelerate your knowledge and give you the confidence to develop your experience further. Implementing strategies, policy, procedures, risk assessments and care plans will become much easier.
So take that next step and you will find the rewards and sense of achievement are second to none.
Both your organisation and your own reputations will become established positive features within your own community.
Enjoy your rewarding, interesting and challenging career.