Posted: 14 November 2016
In a first of a three part blog series, Sharon Allen shares her career journey and tips.
Recently I blogged about my fascinating visit to Community Integrated Care and their partners in the North West of England. One of the high points I mentioned was my visit to St Luke’s Care home in Runcorn care home and meeting Brenda, one of the current cohort of Graduate Management Trainees on our National Skills Academy Programme.
It was a real pleasure to meet Brenda again the following week at the Employment Forum, organised as part of the programme, which is an opportunity for the graduate trainees to hear from a range of colleagues about what to think about in their next steps in their career journey.
I was invited to share my career journey and tips that I have picked up along the way and thought it would be good to share them with a wider audience via this blog.
I started with some reflections about what is so brilliant about adult social care when we get it right, and for me that is the focus on human rights, social justice and the importance of values as a golden thread running through the leader's - and everyone’s - role. I shared Trevor Brocklebank’s exhortation to colleagues at a recent partnership event of the National Market Development and Quality Forum - which I 110% agree with – who said never, ever compromise on your values, make them the cornerstone of how you recruit and retain people.
And then it was onto my journey which started when I left school at 16 with a clutch of not overly impressive O levels, and no idea what to do, so ended up working in the Midland Bank in my home town of Derby.
I soon realised that career choice wasn’t for me so fast forward five years to when I got my first job in social care as a social work assistant with Derbyshire Social Services, and my first top tip is to remember that communication is about so much more than what we say. I learned this from my team manager who had watched me engage in a conversation with a group of colleagues just before going in to a supervision session. In my supervision, my manager asked me whether I was aware that what I thought - which was that what someone was saying was a load of rubbish - was written all over my face!
This was a sharp lesson to me to think and reflect about total communication, body language, focus on active listening and to bring this right up to date with the learning I have very recently gained through the coaching mastery programme I have completed. This has heightened this early lesson helping me practice deep listening, really listening to what someone is saying and hearing them rather than merely focusing on what I might say in reply.
Writing this blog I realised that we had covered a lot of ground in this session so I’ve broken this blog into three parts to be published throughout this week. The other two parts will include more tips that I hope will help our future leaders learn from my own hard won experience.