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Diverse services for diverse communities

It’s important that the leadership profile of the social care sector is as diverse as the communities we’re serving. Statistics show that those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are unrepresented in leadership and management roles. In striving to offer a care service that is truly reflective of the diversity of all communities across the sector we need to work hard to ensure that our workforce of leaders and managers is equally diverse.

The Moving Up (BAME) leadership programme has just completed its sixth year and was developed in response to the need to forge a more representative leadership profile in the sector. It’s for black, Asian and minority ethnic social care leaders, and aims to give them the tools they need to challenge racial stereotypes and possible prejudices they may encounter in their leadership roles.

The programme is due to reopen in the autumn with a cohort of new learners and is currently recruiting.

In this article, last year’s learners reflect on their roles as leaders and managers and describe the outcomes and impact of taking part in the programme.

Network of support

Leaders and managers in social care have a huge amount of responsibility. The way they work not only affects the staff they’re responsible for, but those receiving care and support as well, so it’s important that they feel supported and can learn from the good practice of others. We’ve heard from many leaders and managers who have told us they often feel isolated.

Moving Up brings leaders together through a series of learning events, encouraging them to form strong bonds and networks of support.

Errol Cumberbatch said that he was empowered by the people he met on the programme.

“This course has given me those tools to work with in terms of networking, people I can now talk to, as well as mentor and mentoring opportunities. All of that together has given me the strength and the self-belief to develop myself.”

Analysing leadership style

It’s important to analyse your own leadership style to determine if you could work in a better way. Through honest and comprehensive evaluation of your approach to leadership and management in the workplace, you may find that there are several things you can do to get the best from yourself and from your team.

Beatrice Kiragu said that she felt she used to struggle to be taken seriously when she was trying to communicate.

“It frustrated me and made me feel like I wasn’t adequate. Now my staff are listening to me more and they’re respecting me, because I have learnt that I need to be sensitive when I deliver supervisions with my team or when I ask them to do something.”

Pushing boundaries

Many people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in social care roles report a perception that progress into more senior leadership and management positions  is often blocked or not available to them. They see inequality at the top and feel as though there is no point in pushing themselves.

The Moving Up programme challenges these views and encourages participants to explore their capacity and capability as leaders in building upon their strengths to achieve their goals.

Olakunbi Aiyelabola said that that Moving Up was the best thing she had done for her career development.

“I have been so laid back and in a comfort zone, thinking that I’m doing the best that I can do, but this course has raised my aspirations and let me know that I can do so much more. My manager told me two weeks ago that he has seen a different person in me.”

For more information on the Moving Up leadership programme or to register interest in joining the next cohort of learners , please visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk/leadershipprogrammes or email leadership@skillsforcare.org.uk.

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