Posted: 28 June 2018
As we launch our 2019 Accolades, during #excellenceincare month, Jason Denny, Registered Home Manager reflects on what the Skills for Care accolade means to Old Hastings House. They won the 2018 ‘Most effective approach to leadership and management’ accolade.
The key to providing outstanding care: is having leadership behaviour at all levels; within a team where everyone feels equally important from housekeeper to care team leader; and where everyone has regular opportunities to learn new skills. So, for us, winning the Skills for Care accolade for ‘Most effective approach to leadership and management’ was akin to the ‘Holy Grail’ being the most important accolade. It’s encouraging to know that expert and advanced practitioners, not directly involved in our service, have held us up to the microscope and recognised that we are onto something.
We were truly flattered to be in the final, given the outstanding quality of fellow finalists and I (unlike our residents and their loved ones) certainly never expected to win, given the competition. There was delayed shock at the announcement - I had initially thought they had read out another service! I was especially pleased that my dedicated staff team had the opportunity to attend the Earls Court event and let their hair down as they reflected on their achievement. It was especially emotional to know that the 70 staff not in attendance, along with residents and relatives, were just as excited at the achievement. The success of Old Hastings House is based on the whole team working together.
Whilst we are all elated by the success, we are also humbled as we try each day to live up to this new national recognition and continue to improve outcomes for staff, residents and relatives. We will never stop learning or challenging each other to improve. For example, whilst we were praised for a distributed style of leadership we’re already embarking on a collaborative project to drill down into a common understanding of what effective ethical leadership looks like. We’re defined by our values which need to be constantly and effectively communicated, in the form of clear expectations.
Whilst the award naturally brought elation, pride and ownership by all involved in the service, I have observed something more significant and sustainable: more staff are stepping up and showing leadership behaviours without prompting, whether it be in our dignity initiative, other champions’ roles, Gold Service Framework for end of life care or resident activities. Whilst instinctively I’m not a fan of five-year plans (after all what is magic about the word five?) we have to be mindful of a succession plan(five years in the making) - hence my joy at seeing emerging leaders - the most satisfying part of the job for me. I guess success breeds success - if we don’t go forward we go backwards. We are clearly more confident and courageous since winning the award.
We strive to support and encourage personal and career development of our staff. We work within an open and inclusive culture, encouraging a sense of ownership. Through supervisions and staff meetings we assess and rate the quality of the culture and collaboratively come up with action plan to address any issues. There are no platitudes at Old Hastings House.
We also endorse strong, effective, engaging and collaborative leadership behaviours. This means we nearly always promote from within, creating opportunities for all staff to have a fulfilling career with us.
As we say at Old Hastings House; success is always under construction as we go the extra mile. We now press forward with some exciting projects underway with the full support of the Magdalen and Lasher Charity that gives the manager all the support and control they need. Without such autonomy, the service could not grow in a responsive way for both staff and residents, and in addition I would not be able to cope with the stress that comes with the responsibility.
In 2015, Skills for Care began funding local registered manager networks, in response to a lack of good established networks for registered managers. I am Chair of East Sussex Registered Managers forum, in association with Skills for Care and East Sussex County Council. These networks have been a vital source of information and networking opportunities where members decide the agenda and take back best practice initiatives to their own services. If you would like to join a network, find out more on Skills for Care’s website. The answers to most issues are usually within the community of managers, providing there is a way of unlocking this knowledge. After all, it can be lonely at the top!
Skills for Care provided me with the best possible blueprint to evaluate and develop my service and the tools to do this starting with the right foundations – a strong and clear values base which affects every activity- a focus on collaboration- and getting the best out of everyone. Our achievement is as much theirs - the sign of a true partnership.
For me, it’s nice to be able to share a positive news story about the care profession of whom there are thousands of dedicated people selflessly making a difference every day.
Find out more about Skills for Care’s 2019 Accolades and apply here.