Jul 19

Supporting new managers from the outset is key

Posted: 10 July 2019

Julie Lusk is a new registered manager at Solar Care Homes and a registered manager member of Skills for Care. She’s worked her way from support worker, senior and deputy manager, to registered manager. Julie talks about how she’s embraced her new role through working with peers and engaging with other managers, taking part in pilots, networks, events and forums. She took part in Skills for Care’s ‘New registered manager’s pilot’, a 12-month programme that offered new managers support and the opportunity to engage with peers and learn from best practice. Managers were supported to develop their confidence, knowledge and skills.

I saw the ‘New registered manager’s pilot’ advertised by Skills for Care in my membership newsletter. As a new manager, I understood a lot about what my role entailed; and having worked my way up from support worker to key worker to deputy and then manager, I knew my service inside out, but I didn’t have a lot of experience as a manager. I thought I’d benefit from support and guidance and from spending time with other managers in the same situation.

I was right! The programme met my expectations and more. The topics covered by the programme were the right ones for me and when I was paired with a mentor, that broadened the whole experience even further.

One of the most important lessons for me has been that, as a manager, you have to avoid always putting yourself last. Thinking about, and looking after yourself, is a part of being able to look after others. We do a lot of giving in this sector, so your own resilience is key.

It isn’t just me who benefits from this approach either. If I don’t delegate or give people autonomy then I’m not giving people a chance to learn or upskill. Delegating to team members, as well as giving good supervision and appraisals helps my team to recognise their own skills – and it stops me getting bogged down.

Like everyone, sometimes I’m great at this, sometimes less so. It’s easy to say and hard to do, but you must look after yourself.

Skills for Care’s pilot also helped me to recognise that, as registered managers, we are fantastic professionals in our own right. I’m quite down to earth, so it was good to become more self-aware of how professional my role is. Being part of a group of other new managers was important to this.

I think being able to talk to people outside of your own service or organisation is important. I have a big team and I love my team, but being a registered manager can still be lonely. You need to be able to have those conversations “this is what happened, this is what I have done, what do you think?”.

Building and maintaining those links is something I’ve kept doing now the programme has finished. I’m a member of my local registered manager network and we recently took part in an action learning pilot. The scheme has finished now, but we have met up a couple of times and we’re now self-facilitating our action learning group. I’m also still in touch with the other managers from the programme via WhatsApp.

I’m also continuing to apply the approaches to recruitment and retention that we thought about as part of the programme; always remembering that it isn’t just about recruiting, it’s about getting the right people.

To any employer with a new manager I would say give your registered manager the support they need. Give them regular supervision and give them guidance. Just because someone is a registered manager, it doesn’t mean they know it all; they still need help.

…and to new registered managers I would say look after yourself and your wellbeing, remember to delegate, don’t overwhelm yourself and be reactive and adapt to change – it is rare that my days go as expected!


Find out more

  • Our new online guide: ‘Developing new managers and deputies’ supports employers with good succession planning. You can access it here.
  • You can also follow our June/July campaign around ‘Developing managers’ here and on Twitter at #DevelopingManagers
  • Julie is also a member of Skills for Care’s new Registered Manager Reference Group that helps to raise the profile of the registered manager role and  steer and provide feedback on Skills for Care’s work.