This Programme aims to increase Managers’ skills, knowledge and confidence to share learning with colleagues within their Care Home and with other Care Home Managers.

Here are three tools we used to develop listening, empathy and delegation.


What did we do?

On Away Day 4 we used a goldfish bowl to hold a structured discussion about learning on the Programme. This is a model for active participation and reflective listening, in which everyone can learn from each other.

A small circle of 4 chairs (the goldfish bowl) in the centre of a larger circle. One of the goldfish bowl is occupied by a chairperson, who provokes with questions and keeps the conversation flowing (if need be). Other people can join the goldfish bowl at any time to join the conversation, but there should always be one chair empty. So if there are three chairs occupied and someone joins then one of the chairs needs to be vacated. No-one outside the goldfish bowl can participate other than as listener/witness.

What did Care Managers learn?

Managers reflected that they learnt a lot from each other and really appreciated the opportunity to ‘witness’ each other.

“All the activities where listening was involved were good, but the fishbowl was especially good as we all had to listen and most of us also spoke”


What did we do?

On the first training day, TCAN Artist Hugh gave out a range of different percussion instruments (chime bars, drums, shakers, tambourines etc) and then someone in the group was given a conductor’s baton. This person was the conductor and we followed and played our music according to the conductor’s movements.

There was lots of laughter, after an initial nervousness about not being ‘musicians’ and not knowing what to play. We all watched and listened very carefully.

This is an activity that can engage many participants even if they have limited movement and are non-verbal. It gives them some agency and control.

What did Care Managers learn?

“I’m going to go and buy a baton for my care home, I think we all should”

“I feel a real sense of power with the baton”


What did we do?

We stood as a group each side of a long white pipe. The task was to slowly put the pipe on the floor together. This was done to challenge collaborative working in a revealing and unusual way and to reflect on leadership approaches.

What did Care Managers learn?

The task is simple and straight forward but the group struggled to co-ordinate their intentions or movements and so the pipe ‘had a life of its own’. It went up, diagonal, forward etc and no-one could explain why. Eventually one person grabbed it and put it on the floor. We discussed whether we had achieved the task – some said yes some no. This provoked conversation and learning around listening carefully to instruction, challenging habitual behaviours, making space for others, trust and teamwork. We spent much longer discussing and reflecting on actions than we did moving the pipe.

“I couldn’t stand it, you said you wanted it on the floor so that’s where I put it. I just want the job done”

“I realise that I was happy for the others to let it move but I couldn’t see that I was responsible”

“Why is this so hard?! It’s about working together not putting the stick down”

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