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NEW RESEARCH REPORT
Unlock the latest insights on leadership and management in health and social care and discover how to support the leaders of tomorrow in your care business
Leaders of Tomorrow: research to inform the future of leadership in social care is a new research report that provides valuable insights and actionable recommendations to support and give direction on the path to leadership in health and social care.
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In any field, effective leadership hinges on a fundamental skill set, but steering the helm in the care sector calls for an especially unique blend of qualities. This is crucial in an industry that’s constantly grappling with challenges and operating with a workforce that’s already under considerable strain. Key traits such as clear communication, interpersonal abilities, compassion, empathy, enthusiasm, and adaptability are not just desirable, they’re essential.
In our discussions with various individuals in the care sector, the ability to communicate effectively emerged as the most emphasised trait for successful leadership in social care. This includes not just talking, but actively listening to staff, service users, and carers alike.
Engaging in meaningful conversations and being receptive to feedback helps to cultivate a culture of trust. This was a recurring theme in our focus group discussions with care leaders, who come from diverse backgrounds and operate in different care environments. Establishing trust is not just beneficial; it’s fundamental in an industry where the stakes are incredibly high and the well-being of individuals is the primary concern.
Our research reveals that 58% of participants believe that a combination of leadership development programs, professional training courses and on-the-job skill development is key to effectively tackling workplace challenges in the care sector. However, the availability and accessibility of such training and development resources varied significantly among our respondents.
Many participants found themselves in a position where they had to proactively seek out their own opportunities for leadership growth. This often included attending industry-specific events, talks, and webinars. The data underscores the need for more structured and readily available leadership development programs to ensure that leaders in the care sector are both capable and confident in their roles.
Our research brings to light a concerning gap in support for professional development among aspiring leaders in the care sector. Approximately 31% of these individuals are unaware of any formal training opportunities provided by their current employers. An additional 40% cite the absence of training as a significant obstacle to career advancement in social care.
We understand the critical role that well-rounded and resilient leaders play in the social care landscape. However, the sector is under increased scrutiny post-pandemic, with heightened expectations from regulators and heavier workloads. These factors leave little room for additional activities, including essential leadership development.
The findings underscore the urgent need for organisations to prioritise and invest in leadership training. This is crucial not just for the professional growth of individuals but also for the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of care services.
Our research indicates that a significant number of individuals in the care sector face barriers to career growth, with 4 in 10 citing a lack of training and over a third (34%) pointing to an absence of mentorship. While many employers may have policies in place to support time for training and development, the reality is often different. Most of the studying is done in personal time, highlighting a disconnect between policy and practice.
For those who were fortunate enough to receive mentorship, the impact was profound. They identified this form of support as critical to their success in leadership roles. The data emphasises the need for a more structured approach to both training and mentorship within the sector. Implementing these support systems is not just beneficial for individual career growth; it’s vital for the overall quality and resilience of care services.