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Name: Michaela Berry
Location: Lincolnshire
Current job title: Practice Supervisor

I joined the Firstline programme because I felt like it was time that I challenged myself and wanted to think more about my career moving forward.
I have become much more reflective and reflexive about my leadership abilities as a result of the programme. I am more mindful of and confident in areas where I have leadership abilities and have a clearer idea of where I need to develop my skills. I feel that I have been given the opportunity to begin to work on these areas and plan to further develop these moving forward.
It’s been great to have an extended period of time, with like-minded people and excellent support to learn, reflect on, and practice leadership skills. It has felt like a safe environment to step out of my comfort zone and have a go at things I would usually avoid. This has been challenging but also very rewarding and has increased my confidence.

All of the information delivered, practice sessions and one-to-one sessions on the programme are very relevant to the daily challenges of a leader in social care. Instant results can be seen, whether it’s communicating in a different way, reframing information or giving more positive feedback.

The most rewarding experience has been realising that being a leader can fit exactly with the values and reasons that made you want to be a social worker in the first place. Empowering people and listening to their views is just as relevant in leadership as it is in front line practice. It seems obvious now, but before I did this programme I was struggling to see how my role as a practice supervisor was similar to the role of being a social worker.

The Firstline programme has challenged my views of social work management entirely, and I am now enjoying my role much more. I already had some good leadership skills, but I now have the tools to develop them further, and am able to make the links between developing others, challenging and giving positive feedback, and the outcomes and experiences of the children and families that we work with.

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