Managing practice

Supervision and team leadership

Introduction

Effective supervision and team management involves:

Individual and group supervision are important parts of the first-line manager's job as a manager of practice. However, managing practice involves more than formal supervision, as it looks at the best use of the whole team's resources. This means that the first line manager should know what staff are doing and how they are doing it and be able to give consistent, judicious leadership to the team. Supervision is often thought of as a one-to-one activity. However, many of the principles and aims of individual supervision can be applied to group supervision. If you supervise a group of colleagues you are likely to find some of the skills and techniques of team development useful. The difference between the two is probably one of emphasis: group supervision is likely to focus more on direct work with service users and carers, looking at the inter-personal skills, judgements and approaches used by group members. In supporting and leading the professional work of your team, you are likely to use all three approaches: the table below sets out some of their characteristics to help you decide which approach to use when. A mixture of all three will probably be most effective. For example a statutory team used to thinking in terms of individual allocated cases may find group supervision very helpful. A day care team, used to collective direct work may find the change of emphasis provided by a team development session just as stimulating.

Individual supervision

Useful reading: Mattinson Janet. The Reflection Process in Casework Supervision Institute of Marital Studies. Tavistock Institute of Social Relations, London: 1975.

Group supervision

Useful reading: Barbara Kahan. Growing Up in Groups London HMSO/NISW 1994

Tony Morrison. Staff Supervision in Social Care: an action learning approach Harlow Longman 1993

Mattinson Janet. The Reflection Process in Casework Supervision Institute of Marital Studies. Tavistock Institute of Social Relations, London: 1975.

Team development

Useful reading: McCoughan Nano, Palmer Barry. Systems thinking for harassed managers. Karnac, London: 1994