Organisation: The Oaklands
Job Title: Registered Manager
Having previously been employed as a fully time served joiner, I became jaded with ‘chasing the dollar’ and had a genuine desire to really make a difference.
To that end I started in Care back in 2004 as a part time care tutor at Portland College supporting individuals with high care physical disabilities and associated learning disabilities. I went on to become a care co-ordinator at Portland in charge of running a block.
To further my experience I began working on bank for Corner House a care home under the LHASS (Leicester Housing Association). This involved carrying out duty officer duties in the care home as well as supporting individuals with learning disabilities out in the community (domiciliary care).
From November 2006 – August 2009 I was employed full time by LHASS as a Community Assistant Manager supporting individuals with both learning and associated physical disabilities out in the community.
In August 2009 I was head hunted for the position of Deputy Manager here at The Oaklands. As I progressed in my development I was promoted to Quality Compliance Manager. Following events out of my control, I became Acting Manager in December 2013 before becoming permanent Registered Manager here in October 2014.
The Oaklands Complex is a charitable organisation and is comprised of three separate bungalows housing twenty residents and boasts its own activity centre that is used to facilitate our own activities such as disco’s, activity groups as well as being leased to the general public.
We are registered as an adult service for individuals with learning disabilities and we are a care home not a nursing home. We pride ourselves on delivering high quality person centred care.
What I wanted to achieve
When I was made registered manager permanently in the October 2014, I found myself at the head of a large organisation in the ever changing landscape that is Health & Social Care. We employ over 40 staff members and so there is an enormous amount of responsibility on many fronts.
Although I receive supervision internally from one of our Executive members I would admit to feeling rather isolated and overwhelmed by the whole plethora of responsibility that my role encompassed. To that end during my supervision I requested some additional external coaching and mentoring to help me grow and develop in my role.
My supervisor approached Margaret Tempest from Tempest training to deliver a series of coaching sessions to aid my development. I was keen to explore my role and identify a pathway that I could follow in order to embrace my own responsibilities and learning as well as ensuring that I was fit for purpose to lead my own team and support them in their own personal professional development.
What Tempest Management Training did
Margaret set out a clear development pathway from the outset and we agreed to this by formally signing a contract.
My coaching consisted of 6 sessions combining Business, Skills and Performance Coaching and Mentoring
We set out my vision for the future which helped me identify and flesh out where I saw both myself and my service in the future. From there we set out achievable steps to help me reach this conclusion.
This included visiting and engaging with other service providers to look at their models and staffing structures. This proved invaluable on a number of levels. It made me realise that other organisations have the same operational headaches as ourselves. When you are isolated it is easy to look at other services and think that the grass is greener. You tend to think that it is only your own service that has the day to day trials and tribulations that you have to manage. The most valuable aspect of visiting other service providers was the opportunity it afforded myself to engage with experienced managers who were so obliging and open in sharing their wealth of managerial philosophy and experience with me.
I also attended supervision workshops which helped me gain the knowledge and resources to improve my formal staff supervisions which in turn has helped me monitor and evaluate my staff team more effectively.
During our one to one sessions Margaret actively encouraged me to reflect on my experiences and this really helped me scrutinise and imbed what I had learnt as a result.
What we achieved together
The biggest thing that the series of coaching and mentoring achieved for me personally was increased confidence and awareness around my role as Registered Manager. Margaret encouraged me to reflect on my management style and abilities which resulted in increased confidence around my role. This resulted in giving me the confidence to access managers networking meetings and care forums in order to increase my skills and knowledge further.
I would like to think that in turn my own staff team are better led and more ably supported as a result of the exercise as it allowed me an overview of the entire staffing structure and operational set up. The Oaklands is now a more organised organisation following the changes that were implemented as a result of the sessions. This in turn must benefit our client base. They are better supported and this is evidenced by improved outcomes across all areas of their Activities of Daily Living.
What I learnt
Following the coaching and mentoring sessions it resulted in a complete restructuring of our staffing structure. This wasn’t without its challenges. Key individuals chose to leave the service, as they were unwilling to embrace the additional responsibility needed in their important roles and their philosophy wasn’t in tune with my own. This was hard at the time but now time has passed it is evident that our service is better for the changes.
It forced me to really flesh out all staff members job descriptions, resulting in everyone taking on more ownership and responsibilities within their roles.
The restructuring saw our business manager leave and so we decided to bring in an outside firm to deal with the accounts. The additional responsibilities that she had are now shared by my bungalow administrator and my centre administrator. The transformation in the individuals has been nothing short of amazing with both of them flourishing in their roles and an increase in their confidence.
I changed my mind about how I saw my staffing structure should be a number of times. This wasn’t a knee jerk reaction but more of a smooth shift after additional consideration and consultation on the matter. It was an organised considered approach over an extended period, which given the importance of the decisions was sensible. I believe it is important to be open to a change of idea when alternative options present themselves as being more beneficial.
I have a new deputy who is fit for purpose and totally supportive of myself and my vision. My training and development officer has grown in maturity and stature and mirrors my passion and philosophy of care As a result of the changes I now have my upper management team working together as a tight cohesive unit, and everyone goes about their business in a professional friendly manner.
I appointed two additional seniors in order to ensure a managerial presence across all shifts. The seniors were given specific individual roles as well as their collective responsibilities. This has resulted in increased motivation and job satisfaction and they have really hit the ground running.
On reflection I don’t know as I would do anything differently as the series of changes happened naturally. Some decisions individuals took were completely unexpected and out of my control. I had to react to these decisions as they unfolded and at the time I will admit to wondering if I was going in the right direction.
In summary at the time of signing up for the series of coaching and mentoring sessions with Margaret little did I know the roller coaster journey I was about to embark on.
Short term it provided the basis for the necessary restructuring of our service. For me personally it has had long term benefit equipping me with knowledge and skills to enable me to help drive our service delivery forward for the benefit of our residents. It has also provided me with the opportunity to consider my own personal professionalism development and as a result of these sessions I consider myself to be a more competent confident manager.