Changing social care: an inclusive approach
Leadership for change and improvement: Be responsive, without compromising on direction
- Make discussions and disagreements acceptable.
- It will sometimes be necessary to challenge other bodies, to maintain thedirection of the organisation.
- Use stakeholders to help explore and solve challenges.
Example: ‘Leadership is key. You need to work with people but do not appear weak. Do not be afraid to say “this is my vision”’ (Age Concern Sheffield).
Staff want to know what is going on and what the parameters are. It’s important to start with mutual respect and from the point of view that I respect what you’re doing, what you’re doing is valuable and vice versa. Beyond that we may have a disagreement. Disagreements are kind of taboo; people find it difficult to deal with them. There’s a desire for everyone to reach a consensus or pretend there’s one when there isn’t. Make it part of the culture that it’s okay to have differences. It’s okay to discuss, but it’s not okay to get aggressive, and then it’s okay for a decision to be made that not everyone likes. We have some way to go on this, but we’re getting there(Age Concern Sheffield).
How we know this
- Research shows that good leaders accept that they do not always have all of the answers and that in embarking on organisational change there is an element of uncertainty for the future – both short and long term (Fauth and Mahdon 2007). Accepting that they don’t have all the answers will enable them to listen to resistance and seek the involvement of others to overcome challenges.
- Leaders exhibit behavioural and social intelligencesuch that they are able to bridge gaps between stakeholders, minimise employees’ fears, effectively build social capital and peer networks, and act and react effectively to different audiences (Almio-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe 2005; Boal and Hooijberg 2000; Fernandez and Rainey 2006).