As a person I have always really enjoyed the concept of leadership, the leader that inspires, builds, and faces challenges head on. I have always tried to put myself in situations that pushes my comfort zone that support growth and personal development, I don’t think I could be in any better sector for comfort zone pushing than the social care sector!
I feel a key skill which is essential to social care leadership is resilience, if you are not encountering challenging situations whether that be staff shortages, care financing, CQC, unrelenting demand and service user pressures your not in the social care sector. Regardless of if you have 10 service users you support or 10000 the leadership principles are similar, and you will need a tough chin to endure them.
That’s why we need, tough, resilient leaders who are caring and dedicated to the communities they serve. The sector has been really challenged for many years and I think the COVID pandemic just brought it all to the forefront, most notably the resource isn’t there to meet the demand. Community Social Care is the heart of the health and social care system and without it the system will crumble, you can see it clear as day with the current issues regarding hospital discharges.
As leaders we need to work as a collective and shout this from the rooftops and ultimately dedicate our powers to improving and growing the conditions for the social care workforce. I truly believe that if we don’t properly support and care for our front-line carers, we can never expect to have the resources that meet the demands of the care sector.
Recruitment and retention are probably our central challenge across our charity. Bringing through the new faces of social care, the future leaders and those aspiring to change their communities. As a charity we work across mostly deprived communities and often recruit within these areas, in which we try to focus on how working in social care is not just a gig job it’s a career. You’re not ‘just’ a social care worker you are skilled social care professional. As leaders we need to fight for the front line, fight for the acknowledgement of the work they do, and I believe fight for parity with the NHS.
We need to work to educate the public on how important social care is, even if you / your family are not receiving it you will be affected by it. Poorly resourced social care will lead to longer hospital waits, GP appointment delay, delayed A and E access and much more. Social Care is not the poor relative to the NHS and as leaders we need to do this.
We work across some fantastic local authorities who really try their best with their limited resources in face of ever-growing demand. Originally, I was all for the hourly rate improvements and its all about financially resourcing the sector properly but on reflection I don’t think this is just about money it’s about respect / acknowledgement. As a leader monetary incentives have never really moved us forward but when you properly support your team and acknowledge the hard work they do in the face of adversity this in our experience has really worked.
We have some of the most caring, passionate, and dedicated people in this sector who give it their all everyday, not for the money, not for plaudits just to help someone in need. I think we as leaders can do better in getting them the recognition they deserve. Clap for carers, nah don’t think so give us a properly resourced professional body thanks!