ASHLEIGH FOX'S THOUGHTS
When we decide to join the care sector, usually the driving force behind it is wanting to help people; care becomes a vocation and we thrive in those personal interactions where we can see the tangible difference we are making in real time.
This was certainly true on a personal level, having started as a support worker around 20 years ago and being inspired to become a Learning Disability Nurse based on seeing the difference that could be made on an individual level.
When I joined Catalyst Care Group, the goal was to continue nursing on the front line and stay very involved in the day to day care side of things. This is what got me up every day, and at the time I couldn’t imagine a life that didn’t involve seeing the people we were supporting day in, day out. However, as we grew and I was given more opportunity to learn about the organisation and try new things to improve what we were doing, my client-facing time became more limited as more time was spent coaching newer team members on our “why”.
Entering the world of people leadership in an office-based environment was incredibly daunting – my experience up until this point had been in residential, supported living and hospital environments where everyone just got involved and things ran as a “family home”.
It’s a transition I struggled with at first – and it took several months to fall into a new way of working whereby I wasn’t delivering clinical support every single day. However, as we expanded our reach, the realisation that we were impacting more people at a larger scale really helped my shift my mindset towards seeing the benefits of taking up a leadership role.
Most of the people within our leadership team at Catalyst Care Group come from clinical, hands-on backgrounds. There are lessons we learned in clinical roles that support our decision-making when it comes to our family members, as well as more structured leadership lessons we’ve been on a journey to incorporate into our approach.
At Catalyst Care Group, we see every single person associated with our organisation as a valued family member, and it comes from the very notion that as humans, we are all equal and yet also each have a unique ability to contribute to the world. And as leaders, we have a duty of care to everybody around us.
In the wider health and social care sector, sometimes we might not realise the weight of our decisions on people’s lives – be it our direct staff teams or the individuals for whom we have a duty to serve. It’s easy to get caught up in such a dynamic and fast-paced environment where it feels as though everybody needs a piece of us. We work in an emotive sector, and we are human too.
The biggest thing that I’ve learned through time, is that it’s alright to make mistakes. Leadership is a journey, and we won’t always get it right – but every day is an opportunity to get up and try again.
So if you make the decision to move into leadership, the best piece of advice I can give you is this: go with willingness. Willingness to learn, willingness to adapt, willingness to make mistakes and above all, willingness to use your position for greater positive impact on those around you
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