The Care Leader’s Handbook
The Care Leader’s Handbook is a new publication aimed at the social care sector. Its jacket describes it as ‘a practical guide to leadership for care managers, team leaders and future superstars’. This piqued our interest at Insequa and we thought we needed to learn more, so we shot a few questions over to authors Sophie and Rob Coulthard who many in the care sector know from The Judgement Index where they run leadership development academies across the country.
Insequa: What sparked the idea for the book?
Sophie: Originally, we were planning to produce a workbook for people who had been on our training workshops and leadership academies. We wanted to produce a resource they could come back to whenever they wanted a refresh, but then we realised we could turn it into a proper book, available to anyone. We also found there was a lack of leadership books for the sector so we saw a gap for ours.
Insequa: The book draws a clear distinction between management and leadership. Can we all make the leap from manager to leader?
Rob: Yes, it’s simply a progression of knowledge and skills.
Sophie: I think many people are promoted to manager because they can do the job, but the leadership qualities are not always there. However, they can be learned!
Insequa: Do care leaders have different traits to other leaders?
Rob: The high performing care leaders from our research actually had some very similar qualities as top leaders in other sectors that we’ve looked at. This included a high degree of quality in dealing with people, task and strategic issues. They were also very resilient and had good stress coping capacity in both work and personal lives.
Sophie: Rather than having different traits, it was great to see that high performing care leaders matched up to great leaders in other sectors.
Insequa: You firmly believe that leaders are not born, but nurtured. Do you have any beginners’ tips for self-nurturing our inner leader?
Sophie: As someone who led my first team aged 20 my tip is that it’s never about you, it’s about how you can influence people to get positive outcomes. How can you bring out the best in people? I also think you can never stop learning, listen to podcasts and read books about leadership. I personally love listening to Simon Sinek talk about leadership and always learn something from him.
Rob: Some key development points for new leaders are resilience, vision, imagination, optimism and emotional intelligence. We have a big chapter on emotional intelligence in the book as it’s critical to understanding people and proven to be a better predictor of success than IQ.
Insequa: This is a well-researched book that draws on a lot of evidence from across the care sector. You have identified direct leadership traits that frequently correspond with Outstanding CQC ratings. In your experience, does achieving an Outstanding rating for ‘Well Led’ have a positive upward effect on the other CQC categories? (SAFE EFFECTIVE CARING RESPONSIVE)…
Rob: ‘Well-led’ tends to suggest the leader will have good balance and capacity to influence and have lateral vision. This should, but doesn’t always transpire to other high ratings.
Sophie: I think it’s difficult to generalise when it comes to CQC ratings, but one thing we have tried to capture in the book is the importance of evidencing the leadership work that you are doing, and we provide ideas and templates for that. As leadership is a soft skill it’s not always seen as easy to evidence but we want to show people how they can create visual reinforcement around the leadership work they are doing, and that’s good for evidence but it’s also a great reminder to the team.
Insequa: Is this the sort of book you can carry around with you to delve in to throughout the day?
Rob: Providing you have time to fully understand and rehearse techniques then you can turn to the book on a regular basis. I’d recommend you give it a thorough read through first and get comfortable with practising some of the practical elements. Certainly, if you’re about to give a difficult member of staff some feedback then a quick delve into that chapter should help to set you up for it!
Insequa: Care managers are frequently under pressure, working long hours, operating on tight budgets, fighting to recruit, retain and train staff to deliver exceptional care – can this handbook make their lives easier?
Rob: Definitely, if learned, cascaded through an organisation and applied effectively. Many leaders in the care sector today are wasting time on sorting poor performing teams and individuals. We want to allow a leader to do the things they should be doing and not dealing with bad hires and underperforming staff.
Sophie: There’s no quick fix to dealing with these issues, but good leadership will start to show through in the company culture, and when the culture is good then people will stay and the company will attract even more good people. We hope that the book sets out the foundations for good leadership – leading yourself, leading others and leading the culture, which any care leader at any stage in their journey will find useful.
The Care Leader’s Handbook is now available on Amazon: Link Here
If you need support with tender writing for social care contracts, CQC inspection support or care policies, ask us – call 0115 896 3999, we’re always happy to talk.