Sharing our learning

Through a series of blog posts I aim to share some of the ideas that inspired our new leadership approach and our learning as we go on the journey of strengthening values-based leadership skills right across MacIntyre.

If you are a leader yourself then this blog post is for you. If you are a MacIntyre leader - and at MacIntyre we know that anyone can be a leader regardless of job title - this series will be a great way to ‘keep on learning’ (one of MacIntyre’s DNA strands). And if you are a friend of MacIntyre then welcome.

I hope these blog posts will offer a small contribution to the wider learning community that regularly inspires me and helps us all be stronger together. Please do connect and share your feedback and experiences.

The importance of mentoring

As the importance of practice leadership, coaching and mentoring was recently formally recognised by the Department for Health and Social Care as part of the new care workforce pathway it feels timely to start this series of blog posts by reflecting on why MacIntyre is choosing to approach the (best) practice leadership challenge in this way and to share one of the external models which influenced our thinking.

The MacIntyre Leadership DNA is a simple image with a lifetime of learning and development opportunity within it. It is deliberately straightforward to ensure everyone in MacIntyre can quickly understand the principles that underpin the leadership approach we strive for.

Knowing to take a supportive, coaching approach rather than a directive approach is helpful to a new leader from day one, but becoming the best coach you can be is a journey we are all committed to continuing right through our careers. 

We wanted to create a model that would clearly elevate the importance of being a practice leader: a leader who is present, who acts as a role model, and who can coach and get the best out of the people they work alongside.

Embedding all aspects of practice leadership

The group who created our Leadership DNA felt it essential to embed the practical aspects of practice leadership alongside our MacIntyre DNA, our values in action, and it was this which inspired the idea to use the same DNA imagery and language. The group also talked about relationship-centred practice, which is central to social pedagogy. We realised that our MacIntyre DNA song already contained our own interpretation of The Diamond Model within the line ‘the spark that puts the shine in the star’. 

Our DNA song was created to bring some fun and dancing to the process of engaging people with our DNA. Sung words are also so much more memorable and this song is a real ear worm! The dance moves were created by the MacIntyre Dancers and people from across MacIntyre contributed to the music video.

Shining brightly

The following statement, which is in the introduction to our Leadership DNA, is inspired by the Diamond Model: ‘At MacIntyre we recognise that as human beings we are all unique and have a rich variety of gifts, skills and passions. We all have the potential to overcome barriers and shine brightly’.

I recently shared this at one of our fortnightly, internal, Best Practice Zoom sessions and it brought a huge smile to my face to see looks of recognition from people who already work with leaders who have alighted that spark in them. Think about your colleagues, present and past who have helped you shine: you know who they are, don’t you?

How can you be the spark?

So my challenge for you today is to think about how you could ‘be the spark’ for someone you know – and then give it a go. And if you want some ideas for how to help people identify and make the best of their gifts, skills and passions then I would highly recommend heading over to MacIntyre’s Everyone, Everywhere Stories!

See you next time when I will be blogging about compassion – a favourite subject of mine and one of our longest standing MacIntyre values.

Visual representation of MacIntyre's Leadership DNA

This is the first of a series of blog posts based on the MacIntyre Leadership DNA. You can read others in the series here.

Photo of Belinda Bradley

About Belinda Bradley

Belinda is a qualified teacher with several decades of experience across education and social care with autistic people and people with learning disabilities. Belinda has worked for MacIntyre for 10 years, starting as Principal of one of our schools and children’s homes then going on to establish our Positive Behaviour Support approach and currently leading our Best Practice team.

This role includes supporting our whole organisation to be values-led and purpose-driven through embedding our MacIntyre DNA and purpose statement into all aspects of our work.

Belinda is also passionate about the outdoors, in particular mountain environments, both personally and as a place for learning and growth for everyone.