The wise leaders culture – what does well-led look like?


Tracy Wharvell
is the Development Director at the National Care Association and a Residential
Forum member.  Her career in social care began over thirty years ago
as a practitioner providing social care. Here she reflects on what the well-led
care home looks like.

For those of you who do not know, hopefully not many…

By ‘well-led’ the CQC means that the leadership, management and
governance of the organisation assures the delivery of high-quality care for
patients, supports learning and innovation and promotes an open and fair

The most important element of this statement is ‘an open and fair
culture’, without which the rest will not happen.

Culture exists whether you deliberately create it or not. It is
experienced as a feeling and seen in the actions of staff. When people meet
leaders or the team, they will be able to feel the culture, see it in action and
it will be the first and lasting impression of your service.

What does your culture say about your service? Could it be better?

Ask yourself these questions:

What do your people spend their time and energy on?

Do they work in self-interest or the interest of
the collective good?

What is the speed and efficiency at which things
get done?

How do staff interact with each other, communicate
and make decisions?

Do your staff have capacity to adapt to change?

Is your culture by design or by default?

If you are leading well, then you will have a culture that you have


For more about this picture see:

A wise leader’s culture
will have:

  • Leaders who spend their time promoting behaviours that will meet the
    service/business objectives
  • Staff who understand the service/ business objectives and how their day
    to day behaviour at work supports the achievement of those objectives
  • All staff working in alignment towards the same performance objectives
  • Staff who work well together across teams and not in silos
  • Reward and recognition that is team based and around achievement of
    shared goals
  • Knowledge shared freely and is not used for power or control purposes
  • Staff who take responsibility for their actions when things go wrong and
    do not blame others
  • Staff who welcome new ideas and changes without resistance and thinking
    the old way is better

To design your desired culture, you must first look at your leadership

For me, there are five fundamental leadership behaviours which will
support you to achieve a wise leader’s culture.

communicate purpose and outcomes

Make complex issues

Respect the
contribution of every individual

Be accountable and
embrace responsibility

Work efficiently
for the team

So, intentionally design the culture that represents your service.  Make your leadership behaviours the norm in
your service. As your people are your greatest asset, expect them to follow
your leadership behaviours.  These become
the organisational behaviours, the normal way you do things every day, which should
all align to deliver a well-led service.

Let the Residential Forum know your thoughts about being a well-led
#carehome and feel free to comment through this blog site

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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