Terms such as ‘dynamic leadership’ and ‘growth mindset’ are most commonly associated with the corporate world. To the outsider, leadership in the care sector may seem like a less demanding role without the pressures of big business.
Those involved in managing care services in the UK know otherwise. Even before the impact of Covid-19, increased demand combined with reduced funding was already putting immense pressure on the care sector and those working within it. And that extends to those in leadership roles who are charged with making the best use of limited resources and low staffing levels.
The problem facing leaders in the care sector is, therefore, very similar to that of managers and CEOs in other types of business; identifying ways of achieving the expected output with minimum input. While the desired outcome for business leaders is primarily profit, for care leaders it is quality of life for the individuals their team members support.
Sadly, the funding gap in care services is not something those involved in the day-to-day running of the sector are able to directly influence. Efforts are underway via multiple pressure groups seeking to increase funding levels. But for the time being, care service leaders must focus their efforts on becoming dynamic leaders with a growth mindset. Not only will this have an impact on the quality of care in the short term, it is a management skill that will enable them to continue developing efficient ways of getting the most out of their team. So, if and when funding is increased – and when strong leadership inevitably results in improved staff retention – its impact will be exponential.
But what do dynamic leadership and a growth mindset look like in the UK care industry?
Let’s start with the latter. A growth mindset is an approach to work and life that seeks continuous learning and development techniques. Across all sectors, staff understand that there are training requirements (some mandatory, some additional). Team members with a growth mindset, though, are conscious that learning opportunities are all around them. From picking up a new way of looking at a problem or issue while chatting with a colleague over a coffee, to making a mental or physical note of how successful or otherwise an action was.
Naturally, this requires an inquisitive and open mind. But those attributes alone are not enough. Which is where leaders come in. Part of any leadership role in the care sector or any other industry is coaching.
Coaching is different from training and, itself, requires a growth mindset. Leaders don’t just impart knowledge; they help people learn how to learn. This requires the ability to:
- Identify learning opportunities.
- Communicate clearly.
- Promote controlled autonomy.
- Implement strategies that support self-development.
- See the bigger picture.
While ‘growth’ in business is often measured purely in monetary terms, in the care sector it can be measured in reduced staff turnover, less stress, more capable individuals, better performing teams and a higher level of care, as well as any other factors identified by a particular leader.
Dynamic leadership, therefore, is simply an effective implementation of the above. Another term common in the corporate world is ‘innovation’. Once again, this is something that can and should be translated to the care sector. Innovation doesn’t just mean coming up with a revolutionary new technology that makes cars greener or vacuum cleaners more powerful.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines innovating as changing “something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”. Dynamic leaders with a growth mindset are always looking for ways to improve their team’s performance. This might be by changing schedules, adopting new practices, reducing unnecessary spending or upskilling individuals. And these are just a few examples of innovation in the care sector.
Every leader and manager in the industry will have their own unique issues that they see as their biggest obstacles to delivering the level of service expected and demanded by the end users. Being able to take an agile approach to thinking about how best to tackle those obstacles is the first step to innovating.
Richmond specialises in creating bespoke training, coaching and support packages for those who recognise the value of investing in their leaders as a means of enhancing overall performance. This includes apprenticeships in adult care as well as transforming organisations using performance coaching.
To discuss your specific training needs and how we can support you in developing dynamic leaders and a growth mindset in care service delivery, get in touch.