This project aims to increase Care Home Managers’ skills, knowledge and confidence to practice an open and reflective leadership style.   

Here are three tools that we used to develop self-awareness, modes of learning and acknowledgement.


What did we do?

On Away Day 1, Managers took part in a creative exercise about physical and visual mapping of personal life journeys up to this point. This took many forms including writing, drawing, telling stories and quiet reflections. Following this, Managers were asked to ‘be witnesses’ to what they had created together. They walked around the ‘site’ in silence, reading and then had a ‘performance’.  Then wrote in journals for 2 minutes.

What did Care Managers learn?

Each manager shared one word with the group. These words included: Emotional, Connected, Engaged and Honoured

“We are important”

“Be yourself – being yourself is not a professional position”


What did we do?

Hugh taught a song to the group, without using any spoken words. He did not explain that he was going to be teaching a song, he just started with a body rhythm, then added in vocals which were taught by body movements indicating call and response. The songs was called ‘Yeah Yeah’.

This was part of a process of looking at:

  • how we can lead exercises non-verbally (as we may be working with post-verbal people) 
  • how explaining in advance that ‘we are now all going to learn a song with body percussion’ can be off-putting to many, who naturally feel that they do not have any musical skills, but who can actually successfully join in and enjoy the whole process.

What did Care Managers learn?

This song led on to discussions (in pairs) about how we learn and then in different pairs about the things that prevent us from learning and finally as to how we can lead in care homes.

The responses were:  

‘’Often we think that others think the same as us’’

‘‘We often think that others have the same experience as us’’

‘We need to give folks time’ 


What did we do?

At the end of Away Day 1 Care Home Managers were asked to pay each other compliments. They were given one minute to say three things that they notice about their partner, who simply listens to them. Compliments had to be honest, heartfelt and positive.

Managers practiced this on each Away Day building from one-to-one acknowledgements with a partner, to publicly acknowledging everyone on the final day.

What did Care Managers learn?

At first, many found it difficult to accept a compliment. Many were worried they wouldn’t have anything to say. Quickly they noticed that taking a few moments to reflect and think about something you really appreciated about the other person, it became easy, and enjoyable.

Responses included:

“I hated doing the appreciating in the moment, but whenever I left I felt really good”

“It was so lovely to hear that people appreciate what I value about myself”

“I’m now texting my staff at the end of a shift to thank them for what they’ve done – and I’m getting compliments texted back to me!”


%d bloggers like this: