I’ve previously written about the differences between managers and leaders, as it’s a topic I’m incredibly passionate about. To me, a leader and a manager are two very different roles, but I find these often get mixed up when describing someone’s responsibilities. In summary, leadership is not about welding authority or creating an environment of fear, it's all about empowering people and your team to become the very best version of themselves.
Since I last wrote about leadership vs management there has been a real shift in the leaders within the sector. In this week’s blog, I look at the leadership skills needed in 2023.
The world is changing very fast and it’s affecting what people want from their employers, technology and sectors trying to compete with one another. Leaders need to be able to adapt quickly to new circumstances and be flexible and adaptable as needed.
Technology continues to play a vital role within the workplace and leaders need to ensure that they’re up to date with the latest tools and technology and have the skills to bring their team on board with changes and innovation.
We’re seeing more and more strategic managers in the sector who have experience from other sectors in sales, management, budgets etc. Often managers who have worked their way up in social care, lack these skills so it's important that we push ourselves to learn new skills and take a more business-like approach to strategic thinking.
In a world that is constantly changing, you need to be able to look beyond the present moment, be bold with your ideas and push the boundaries. Look beyond the social care sector for emerging innovations that can be integrated into your services. A leader who can think creatively is also likely to be highly sought after.
There are many things that will go well and many that won't. To be an innovator, strategic thinker and forward-thinking you need to be prepared that things won't always go to plan. Resilience will play a huge part in this process. You need to be a leader who is focused, willing to persevere through setbacks and continue to drive the business forward.
The social care sector has become great at networking, sharing ideas and best practice but there’s still a significant divide between us and health care. To ensure we’re doing all we can to change this, collaboration is key. If you work for a large organisation, this could mean collaborating with different internal teams or departments.
Regardless of the size of your organisation, if you haven’t yet, think about joining your local Integrated Care System (ICS) and speak with your local GP or healthcare team about how you can integrate your services to benefit the people you support. This may be with digital technology such as Whzan or through multidisciplinary meetings (MDTs).
Remember to collaborate with your own team, seek feedback, ask them for their ideas and involve them in the decision-making processes. After all, they’re the ones working on the frontline and know the day-to-day challenges, so they’ll be able to give insight into what needs to change and help you to innovate to bring the company forward.
Mental health and wellbeing are top of the list of what employees want and rightly so. We’re now more aware of what good mental health looks like and how to look after it. Leaders need to be able to understand and manage their own mental health and that of their team. A leader who possesses empathy will be able to build a strong team and foster a positive, open culture. This centres team morale and in turn increases retention.
These are just a few of the leadership skills I believe will be important in 2023. Of course, there are many other skills, and this list is likely to change as we evolve as a country and as a sector. Stay up to date with what’s happening in other sectors, and other countries and be willing to adapt and change to be the best leader you can be.