• 05 May 2021
  • 4 min read

Is There Such A Thing As A Registered Manager Who Can Work Miracles?

  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
    • Toyah Warrington
  • 0
  • 313
"If many elements come together the manager benefits simply by being the person in charge at that time. They then inherit “hero manager” status and are regarded as having the Midas touch."

The success or failure of a care service does not rest entirely on the Registered Manager’s shoulders. The best care providers build an environment for a good manager to thrive.

The Registered Manager Hero Myth: Alan Sugar / Mother Teresa

There is a well-known Home Manager recruiter working for a large and well-known care home provider that talks about their ideal Home Manager being a combination of Mother Teresa and Alan Sugar.

It’s a neat piece of imagery highlighting the contradiction of seeking conflicting qualities in one person.

A very commercial person (e.g. someone who’s into facts / margins / EBITDA / retained profit) is rarely also deeply compassionate and entirely people-focused.

Clearly there are exceptions.

I wonder if it is part of our own addiction to the hero myth that one person can be all things?

But are Registered Managers really heroes? Is it really about greatness and personality? Let’s break this down a bit more

Yes, A Very Good Registered Manager CAN Make The Difference

I would say yes, the influence of a Registered Manager is significant and inspirational.

A Registered Manager can lift a service towards dizzying heights of success. They can make the home / service a joy to live and work in.

As reputation builds, commercial success often follows.

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And, Yes, A Very Poor Manager Will Lose Staff And The Home’s Reputation

Whereas, the self-serving, self-interested manager can give the appearance of running a good service - but without long-term staff engagement and trust attrition will grow.

There will often be complaints about bullying, maybe not proven but “something not quite right”.

There Are More Factors At Play Than The Character Of One Person

There are other factors at play, of course.

It’s not just about one person.

If many elements come together positively and fortuitously, the manager benefits simply by being the person in charge at that time.

They then inherit “hero manager” status.

They are regarded as having the Midas touch.

They get a reputation as an “outstanding manager”.

Conversely, if other factors come together in a perfect storm beyond their control and de-stabilize a service, the manager is labelled the “villain manager”.

Senior managers at the provider conclude the manager is the problem and needs to go!

It’s necessary to look at the underlying factors and issues, and there are often many, that the Registered Manager is dealing with.

I’m not saying there aren’t fantastic managers who lead their services to CQC rating of overall “outstanding” and who DO have that special something.

I’m saying in most cases there is more to it than the Registered Manager’s personal credentials or lack of them.

We can evidence this.

After all, we’ve all seen services that go from “outstanding” to “requires improvement” in a single step.

Conversely, when homes leap from “Good” to “Outstanding” it’s never down to just the manager.

I know this to be the case because I have met many of the group of outstanding rated managers and discussed best practice in order to distill the secret formula!

The conclusion? They could not agree what made them rated as overall “outstanding“!

The Best Care Providers Build An Environment For A Good Manager To Thrive

The best care providers understand the complexity of service provision and provide layers of quality control, within a supportive environment; the best understand there are many other dynamics.

They know that it’s actually a distraction to buy into the hero myth - that a Registered Manager is a one-off, a hero.

And they realise that to label a Registered Manager as such puts an unnecessary burden on them.

It sets an expectation that she / he must continuously live up to former successes.

So beware any care provider that claims it is looking for a hero.

It is a toxic approach and can be hazardous for your career as a Registered Manager because it’s unachievable.

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Have you experienced hero worshipping or unfair condemnation of a Registered Manager?

Add your experiences below

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About the author

  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager

Liam Palmer is the author of 3 books on raising quality standards in care homes through developing leadership skills. In Oct 2020, he published a guide to the Home Manager role called "So You Want To Be A Care Home Manager?". Liam has been fortunate to work as a Senior Manager across many healthcare brands including a private hospital, a retirement village and medium to large Care Homes in the private sector and 3rd sector. He hosts a podcast "Care Quality - meet the leaders and innovators”.

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  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager

About the author

  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager

Liam Palmer is the author of 3 books on raising quality standards in care homes through developing leadership skills. In Oct 2020, he published a guide to the Home Manager role called "So You Want To Be A Care Home Manager?". Liam has been fortunate to work as a Senior Manager across many healthcare brands including a private hospital, a retirement village and medium to large Care Homes in the private sector and 3rd sector. He hosts a podcast "Care Quality - meet the leaders and innovators”.

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