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What makes a good care home manager?

Fonthill House, St Albans, Hertfordshire

There’s just no substitute for an effective, organised and warm manager at a care home. They set the tone of the care home and ensure everything runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

The question of how to be a good care home manager has no simple answer, but there are definitely certain characteristics that help a person excel in the role. Yet just as important as existing qualities are what you put into the job, including the level of commitment and your personality.

Having plenty of experience

We’re immensely proud of our care home managers: they make people feel welcome and enable our employees to provide the best possible care to residents. To do such a great job, they lean upon years of experience, whether that’s in care home settings or from other roles. They call upon their accumulated knowledge and expertise, thinking back to past challenges to solve current issues.

Being able to quickly problem-solve is absolutely vital, particularly when care homes can throw up unexpected problems several times a day. An experienced manager can think on their feet because they’ve more than likely faced similar challenges in the past.

It’s particularly useful if a care home manager has worked in more junior roles in a care home: this gives them a true appreciation of team members’ roles and how they can make them easier.

Effective managers are also adept at managing people – not just situations. Employees are all individuals, with their own personalities, circumstances, likes/dislikes and ambitions. Again, experience tells managers how to deal with different people, motivating and guiding them – and possibly even switching between managerial styles when necessary.

Showing commitment

Care work can definitely be challenging at times, but creating a strong sense of team spirit can help staff get through the challenges together. Care home managers must foster this team spirit and the first step is showing their own commitment to the team – and to achieving the team’s goals.

If employees can clearly see how committed a manager is – to the profession, the care home and the team – they will put more effort into their own work. It’s also important that managers set an example in terms of commitment to high-quality care. 

Having strong leadership skills

Leadership means showing empathy for the people on your team, being mindful not to place unrealistic demands upon them and giving them the support they need to do their jobs well. 

Providing support is, perhaps, more important in a care home than it is in other workplaces. Not only is working in a care home a physically demanding role, but forming relationships with people coming to the end of their lives or providing neurological care for those with neurological disorders can also take an emotional toll on people. Managers have to be understanding of this, helping their team members to deal with loss and distressing situations.

Leadership also means having integrity, communicating effectively and taking tough decisions when necessary. If a leader possesses these skills, they will hold a team together, getting through difficult times and inspiring them to excel in their roles. They’ll also be able to create a care home that feels like home for its residents, with a welcoming culture and highly motivated employees.

A simple way to make team members feel valued and motivated is by showing you can listen. Taking others’ ideas on board and giving employees a voice is a crucial part of good leadership.

Having a passion for caring

For people looking for work in care homes, having a caring nature is the single most important trait. 

This passion for caring must come from the top. Managers must show more junior employees how to make residents feel safe and valued, giving them a sense of belonging. They must also insist upon a high standard of care, which is a huge part of being passionate about caring.

Whenever the need arises, managers should be prepared to help out with non-managerial duties, demonstrating their work ethic and teamwork skills to employees.

Maintaining great organisation

Of course, a care home manager has ultimate responsibility for the day-to-day operations of a care home, so organisational skills are an absolute must. They must be able to delegate effectively, entrusting the right people to get a job done and giving them the guidance they need to do it. Keeping a close eye on staffing levels is another core responsibility.

This is all part of your time management duties, which are vital to ensure the smooth running of the care home. Prudent budgeting and financial planning are also central to effective care home management.

A good care home manager will combine invaluable experience, strong leadership skills and highly developed organisational skills. Yet even more important is their passion for caring, which is always the first thing we look for when hiring new people.

For more information on our open positions, you can visit our career page or feel free to get in touch

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