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Leading, managing and developing people

Middle managers in social services are responsible for leading, managing and developing workers as well as role modelling participatory leadership across the organisation. In addition to their direct supervisory responsibilities, they indirectly influence how other staff are managed and supervised. This in turn impacts on how practitioners and support staff interact with people using services, families and carers.

Middle managers therefore need to be able to:

  • demonstrate an inclusive, enabling and participatory leadership approach with individuals and teams working within the organisation
  • take lead responsibility for reviewing, overseeing and participating in the safe selection and recruitment of workers
  • initiate, develop and implement systems, procedures and practices to support staff engagement, development and retention
  • initiate, develop and implement systems, procedures and practices that ensure health and safety at work
  • role model and promote a culture which values staff health and wellbeing and supports work-life balance
  • provide reflective supervision which includes both challenge and support and is responsive to workers’ diverse learning needs and professional experience
  • actively support and encourage learning and development for individual staff and teams including the provision of coaching and mentoring support
  • identify and address any concerns with the quality of staff performance at individual, team or service level
  • be prepared to challenge and address any breach of professional values, ethics and/or codes of practice including seeking support or specialist advice when required
  • monitor, oversee and support workforce development in order to continuously improve the quality of support for people who use services, families and carers
  • promote and contribute to a learning culture across the organisation.

If you can demonstrate what you have learned from this area of the framework and how you have put your learning into practice, you will be able to earn an Open Badge. Find out more here.

Keeping people who use services at the centre resources

  • Employee engagement: The Open University’s Open Learn unit publishes a free OU study unit dealing with employee engagement, covering:
    • the concept of employee engagement
    • employee involvement and participation
    • collective aspects of employee relations
  • Managing employee performance: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) provides a range of resources, including factsheets, guidance and tools, to support leaders to manage employee performance. Access to some of the resources requires free registration to the site in order to access the full resource but many items are free to access without this. Some resources are only accessible to CIPD Members (subscription required).
  • Health and Safety: The UK government website provides an A-Z on Health and Safety issues. The Health and Safety Executive has offices across Scotland. HSE publishes a wide variety of publications offering advice and guidance for workers, managers and the general public. UNISON, the public sector union also provides useful summary information on Health and Safety. The Scottish Centre for Health Working Lives, an organisation whose principal focus is to work with employers to enable them to understand, protect and improve the health of their employees, works with all kinds of businesses, free of charge. It offers practical information and advice to help improve health and safety and the wellbeing of everyone at work. The website is full of practical advice, guides and tools to help with every aspect of health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Supervision: This website is the place to access eleven separate resources on supervision. A document entitled ‘what is supervision?’ describes an approach to supervision and the benefits it offers. It introduces four models of supervision and details what supervision should cover as well as a typical process. The importance of supervision in social services is also discussed. Other links take you to learning activities that can support and enhance the supervision experience and to resources discussing one-to-one supervision, group supervision, shared supervision and professional supervision. Two examples from practice are provided, one is from Cornerstone, a charity providing services for adults and children with learning disabilities across Scotland.
  • Managing People A number of resources for Managing People are hosted on Good Practice for leaders and managers . Topics covered include delegation, empowerment and giving and receiving feedback. Registration or an Athens username is needed – but if you work in Social Services and don’t already have one, you can request one from Social Services Knowledge Scotland (SSKS).
  • Imagining the Future: Workforce This paper by Kerry Musselbrook, published by IRISS in December 2013, discusses the social services workforce in Scotland to 2025. It focuses upon:
    • future size and employers of the workforce
    • future relationships and roles
    • pay and conditions, registration and training
    The paper draws a total of 23 separate conclusions.
  • Learning and Development A number of resources aimed specially at Learning and Development are hosted on Good Practice for leaders and managers . It seeks to support analysis, design, delivery and evaluation of a range of learning and development interventions. It includes specific learning methods such as coaching, mentoring and workshops, as well as detailed outlines of learning theories. Registration or an Athens username is needed – but if you work in Social Services and don’t already have one, you can request one from Social Services Knowledge Scotland (SSKS).

Examples from Practice

What Others Say

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Gloria McLoughlin - Scottish Care

"I think we are going to have to work together, going forward in the current climate. It’s going to have to be about collaboration. And it’s going to be about setting old suspicions aside and working together going forward."

University of Stirling et al. (2010) Leading Together, Dundee, SSSC

Leadership Capability Indicators
Continuous Learning Framework (CLF)
Standards for Childhood Practice
learning log
Additional SSKS Resources

Other Resources You May Be Interested In

  • The Scottish Centre for Health Working LivesAn organisation whose principal focus is to work with employers to enable them to understand, protect and improve the health of their employees, works with all kinds of businesses, free of charge. It offers practical information and advice to help improve health and safety and the wellbeing of everyone at work. The website is full of practical advice, guides and tools to help with every aspect of health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Scottish Coaching Collaborative (part of Public Service Collaborative Learning Network) is a collaborative initiative to develop, support and transform staff across all public service organisations in Scotland. You need to join this network to take part.
  • Human Resources: Recruitment and Selection: This is an free module offered by the Open University Study unit dealing with recruitment and selection. It covers:
    • planning staff recruitment
    • selecting an individual from a pool of applicants
    • person–job fit/person–organisation fit
    • specifying job and person requirements
    • methods of selection
  • How teams work (virtual teams) This Open University unit provides an introduction to working in virtual project teams by explaining terms and concepts related to teams and to projects.
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