It’s generally accepted that the job of the Registered Manager is the toughest in social care bar none! No other job comes with the relentless pressure, the ever increasing expectations and in real terms the ever decreasing resources; be that people or money! At its best it’s hugely rewarding, but at its worst it can break even the most resilient of individuals. In 2013 in a response to the growing number of Registered Manager vacancies, the CQC imp
osed tough penalties on organisations who failed to fill the 2439 Registered Manager vacancies that existed and miraculously between November 2013 and April 2014, 1395 manager vacancies were filled, with 470 registration applications lodged with the CQC. I wondered then, as I wonder now how many of those appointments were really up to the toughest job in social care and how many of those managers appointed then are still Registered Managers today?
I have led many management and leadership workshops and training sessions for Registered Managers and there’s a slide I always use to illustrate the expectations placed on them. It shows the faces of Oprah Winfrey, Mahatma Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, Anita Roddick, Winston Churchill, Richard Branson, Albert Einstein and…Paul Daniels! So, the ideal Registered Manager needs to have Oprah’s empathy, Ghandi’s wisdom, Thatcher’s toughness, Roddick’s entrepreneurial spirit, Churchill’s leadership, Branson’s business savvy, Einstein’s brains and like Paul Daniels, a Manager needs to be able to pull rabbits out of hats! A lot to expect of one person? Yes, it is, but we’ve seen how a great Registered Manager can turn a failing care home around, but we’ve seen how a home that was previously well run and delivering great outcomes can slowly fail following the appointment of a Manager who is not up to the job!
Skills for Care and the National Care Forum are doing great work to support Registered Managers to improve their management and leadership skills and knowledge. They are to be applauded for their efforts, as are the organisations that invest in their Managers training and support. But it’s not enough. Care providers need to invest as much, if not more in Managers’ emotional and psychological wellbeing as they do in their managerial competencies. I believe that thousands of Managers are burnt out and struggling to get through each day in a job that has changed beyond all recognition. Many are of an age where they’re just holding on, hoping to see out their careers without a major incident in their homes that would threaten their future employment at a time when they believe that changing career would be virtually impossible.
So, how should organisations respond? By providing every Registered Manager with a Personal Performance Coach.
It would be inconceivable that a top sportsman or woman could maximise their performance and achieve the highest success without a coach. More and more executives including CEO’s are benefiting from coaching, so why aren’t organisations who are increasingly recognising that their success rests on the shoulders of their Registered Managers considering the benefits of coaching for this crucial group of staff. The guaranteed return on that investment? More resilient, more confident, less fearful and less stressed Managers, better able to handle the constant pressure they face, more likely to become better leaders, better able to manage change and deliver transformation. Personal coaching, alongside more formal management and leadership training will improve a Manager’s performance which will lead to greater staff engagement, greater trust and confidence between a Manager and their staff which in turn leads to lower staff turnover and sickness and ultimately better service delivery.
Depending on the needs of the individual Manager, a coaching programme could take from a few weeks to a year or more. These 1-1 sessions could be held face-to-face, over the phone or even online with Managers expected to undertake some personal work between sessions.
A coach is a catalyst for change in an individual. They don’t do the work, but they hold their client to account for doing the work themselves.
Providing a Registered Manager with a coach may save an organisation thousands of pounds per home each year and deliver a service worthy of a gold medal! Why wouldn’t they do it?