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22 November 2023

Umu: Pathway 3 helped me to navigate change with my team

Umu, a head of service, shares her highlights from the Pathways programme and how this helped her to navigate change with her team.

Umu is a head of service in Windsor and Maidenhead who is passionate about social work and advocating for children and families, describing social workers as superheroes.

Having recently taken part in Pathway 3 we caught up with Umu to find out more about her experience on the Pathways programme, her key takeaways and why she describes the programme as one of the best things she has done.

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

  1. Reflecting on leadership
    The Pathways programme gave me a space to step back and unpick what leadership means to me. I was able to think about how I work with my teams, the dynamics of managing a diverse group of people with different personalities, values and experiences and how we can best work together. Ultimately, we all have a common goal to achieve the best for children and families.
  2. Navigating change
    You want stability in your service but that isn’t always the case. I’ve had to navigate various organisational changes during my time as a leader in social work, but I often struggled with how to communicate change. The Pathways programme has increased my skills and confidence in this area, encouraging me to think about my emotions in times of change and the impact this can have on my team. Overall, I’ve been able to focus on communicating messages in a way that works best for my staff and partners, across the board.
  3. Learning from others
    Meeting leaders across the country has been inspiring. The opportunity to listen and learn from other leaders who hold similar roles to me has been invaluable. Drawing on their experiences and how they manage situations is something I can apply to my day-to-day role.

Would you recommend the programme?

Yes! I can’t stop talking about my experience on the Pathways programme to my managers and my team and the wider organisation.

At first, I didn’t take any notice of the Pathways email that sat in my inbox, but then my deputy director, who has taken part in Pathway 4, encouraged me to find out more and to sign up. It took someone to push me to find out more about the programme, so I’m spreading the word at my local authority, encouraging leaders to get involved.

Going on the Pathways programme was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I was so busy at the time I applied, but I went for it and it’s made a huge impact to my role.