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9 February 2024

Simone: reigniting my passion for learning

Simone, a Pathway 3 leader, shares how the Pathways programme enhanced her learning, built up her confidence and allowed her to form new relationships.

Simone is a group manager at North Yorkshire Council, a local authority she has worked at over the last 15 years. She is confident, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about her role, continuing to develop as a leader and creating the right conditions for best practice to thrive.

We caught up with Simone at the end of Pathway 3 to find out her highlights from the Pathways programme.

What three key things stood out to you from the Pathways programme?

  1. A network of likeminded people
    The opportunity to connect with social work leaders across the country, hear about what other local authorities are doing and learn from each other’s areas of expertise was brilliant. The online workshops and residentials gave us space, time and that much needed push across the year to prioritise professional development and build our professional networks.

    So much of our work is about building relationships and this is also true of the relationships we build within our organisations and the wider sector. The Pathways programme was a great opportunity to do just that.
  2. Research, learning and sharing best practice
    The Pathways programme allowed me to reinstate my knowledge in some areas, reflect on my day-to-day role and engage with up-to-date research: watching Ted Talks, reading and then having open discussions with other leaders.

    This has subsequently influenced me as a manager. I now ask the question: how can we create time for learning in our everyday roles? Exploring this for myself and for my teams. I bring this into supervision with other managers, feeding through the knowledge I have gained on Pathway 3.
  3. The power of 360 feedback
    Having structured 360 feedback will great! This gave different members of my team the opportunity to provide me with feedback, both constructive and positive. I could then take the feedback away to implement across the 12 months of the Pathways programme.

    We often focus on what improvements we can make from constructive feedback. That is important, of course, but the positive feedback I received was also a real confidence boost. Asking for feedback can make a lot of people nervous, but it is so important for our own development. I have always encouraged my team to seek feedback, but doing the 360 feedback has really reinforced this for me.

What role has the Pathways programme played in your leadership development?

The Pathways programme came around just at the right time for me, as I started a new management role. It has enhanced my learning, built up my confidence and opened new doors for sharing best practice.

Ultimately as leaders we need to constantly strive for improvements, look for innovations where needed and be curious, for our teams and most importantly for the children and families we support.