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#25stories – investing in staff improves support

DebbieDeborah is Brandon’s leadership development coordinator, based in Oxfordshire. She makes sure Brandon leaders have access to training that suits them. Here Debbie talks about her own career development.

In 2006, my work life was very different. I was a bank manager for a large bank, leading up to 90 people, but I’d become disillusioned – it was a ‘selling’ environment, with lots of targets.

It was while training to be a counsellor at night school that I realised I wanted to make more of a difference – I just didn’t know what or how. Then I saw an advertisement in the local news about a job that seemed to offer all of that – adult social care.

It was a big leap of faith, outside my comfort zone, and quite a risk, but I knew I needed a new challenge. Being a support worker was certainly that – totally different – but I loved it!

As soon as I attended my Brandon induction day, I knew it was different. I could feel that everyone’s skills were embraced and there was a keenness to develop people.

Follow the leader

In 2016, I went from being a support worker to a team leader. My manager was attending a working group on leadership and I asked if I could tag along as this had been a passion of mine for many years. When I went, there was a mix of staff, from area managers, locality managers, team leaders and support workers, to office staff. Everyone had something to offer and I haven’t looked back since.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the leadership programme at Brandon as it’s a bespoke individual journey, not a ‘sheep dip’ where everyone’s journeys are the same. It combines training, mentoring, self-awareness, qualifications, and a way to understand how leadership impacts on our teams.

After completing the course, I became locality manager and shortly afterwards, leadership development coordinator. I’ve always been motivated by seeing people develop, do their job with a smile, and succeed - even more so when I’ve shared that journey with them. In social care, that’s not just about staff but about the people we support.

Helping others to develop is a great feeling. In a busy, challenging industry, we mustn’t underestimate any learning that enables our leaders to find new ways to make the most of the time they have or to focus on the right things at the right time. Managing individuals and team dynamics, and their well-being, is key to this.

Making a difference

If I’ve had doubts along the way, I’ve turned to my line managers. I’ve been fortunate to have managers who listen and support. I’ve also always encouraged two-way feedback and at times would seek that from my team – I believe that when we work together there is ‘always a way’!

I’m passionate about my role in leadership and development as I believe great leadership promotes a free-thinking, inclusive, focused working environment. Happy, skilled, and engaged staff, with drive and vision for the work that they do every day, make a huge difference to the lives of those we support.

Finally, I would say to staff; get involved. Find out about all the opportunities open to you, and when you see something you are interested in, go for it – you never know where it may lead!


Got the bug?

If you’re a staff member and you’d like to find out more about leadership and development at Brandon, contact your local leadership and development coordinator or a member of the learning and development team.

Want to be part of a team that develops?

It’s not just team leaders who are eligible for training. Support workers have access to a range of apprenticeships too. Find out more about available opportunities at Brandon.

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