I’ve achieved so much in the past year since doing the Firstline programme* – it has been a great opportunity to develop my approach to leadership, as well as an awareness of my skills and competencies.

I’ve gained new perspectives and am more imaginative with my approach to overcoming challenges in my role, which is essential in developing a better service for the families. There have been so many small challenges that I’ve addressed in a different, more creative way which, when put together, has changed a lot in team and organisational culture, and ultimately for children and families in the long term.  

The skill development that particularly stands out for me is public speaking and using stories to influence people – whether that is my team in terms of their social work practice with children and their families, or senior leaders in the organisation in key decision-making and work culture. I’m more confident in speaking up and having challenging conversations when they are needed and am generally much more visible and active within the organisation, contributing ideas and challenging decisions I don’t agree with. I now recognise the importance of doing this as a leader to build an effective, productive team who are both positively engaged with the organisation and in their direct work with children and families. I’m particularly proud of giving a 10-minute speech at one the Firstline residentials recently, which I wouldn’t have felt able to do before the programme.  

The programme also gave me a space to meaningfully connect with my colleagues and other likeminded leaders, and to share ideas and initiatives that will improve the quality of service for children and families in our local area. We’ve collectively discussed how we can improve our recruitment of social workers, and attract more people into our roles, which we now see as a problem that we need to address together. We’ve also shared ideas on how best to supervise our teams, so that we’re creating the best team culture possible across the organisation.  

The 1-1 coaching sessions have been key to being able to achieve those changes.

My coach not was not only great at identifying the best ways to support me as an individual in terms of pointing me to the right resource and tools, she has helped me develop so many new ideas in my leadership style which will help to shape a better quality of service for the children my team are supporting.  

*The Firstline and Headline programmes ended in 2022 and have since been replaced by the Pathways programme.