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  • 10 August 2012
  • 5 min read

What is good management?

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How do we judge good management, especially in nursing. Sarah Kean-Price put some questions out there using our Facebook page and Linkedin group. Here's what she found out....

It has been written that: “People don’t leave their jobs; they leave their managers.”

Now I don’t know about you but I couldn’t help but feel a large twang of empathy at this sentence.

Whilst I’ve rarely had to leave for solely this reason, goodness knows there were managers at just about every job that made my life rubbish.

There were the feeble ones, who turned a blind eye and didn’t stand up to the irritating team members who made everything more difficult.

There were the arrogant ones, who leapt to conclusions and merely exposed their ignorance and intolerance.

There were aggressive ones who didn’t know how to manage or assert needs and could only blame and rail. And let us never forget the weird ones, who wanted to be friends and couldn’t control the team.

As a job listings website - and particularly as one for people who deal with very important and sensitive job areas that can have serious consequences when poorly managed- we’re interested in management skills.

We asked around on our Facebook page and LinkedIn group to hear what you thought about poor management and the experiences you’ve had of good and bad managing.Several themes emerged.

Obviously, you want your managers to be caring, compassionate and really enthusiastic about the work.

This makes sense given our vocational disciplines. However, there are four main areas you want to see in your health and social care managers:


This almost seems repetitive to put down as we are talking about managerial qualities but you had some specific things to say about managers.

Firstly, you want to see managers that make the needs of the patients absolutely central to the work culture.

You also want your managers to always be thinking about risk assessment needs, doing their best to predict problems and think of the strategies they’ll use to deal with a given situation.

Their leadership in working with the staff team is also a central theme.

Good managers listen to the staff and take their opinions into consideration. Similarly, when team behaviour needs correcting, staff members want to see a bit of empathy.

Arrogance about ‘the right way to do things’ or cries of “I’d never do that!” are not considered as being helpful.

This avoidance of arrogance continues into the way managers deal with care needs. You want to see a manager who is unafraid to make difficult decisions and that won’t waste opportunity or block needed actions because of their ego.

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Professional knowledge

Good professional knowledge came up several times - you really want to be secure in knowing that their manager is up-to-date on methodology and practice.

This places managerial staff as repositories of useful knowledge that the team can use but also will give staff members the confidence that leaders actually know what they are doing and that is relevant and helpful!

Furthermore, you want managers that can pinpoint your training needs and make sure you get what you need.

Part of this is to do with the above leadership but much of it will rely on the manager themselves having the knowledge to know when things are missing!

Put patients first

This came up repeatedly. Whilst everyone wants to be treated well as an employee and part of a team, we are first and foremost vocational workers; our patients come first.

Good health and social care managers are always prioritising their service users’ needs. This ties into your requests for leadership and education.

When it comes to doing the utmost best for the service users, managers must know what they’re doing and think about what users will need in the future.

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Listen to staff

“Dear managers: please, please, please actually listen to what we are saying and make us feel like you’re actually considering your next move with our information in mind!”

Please communicate in a genuine fashion and not brush us off with ‘Managerese’. Insincere management just screams “You are not even close to being a priority and I’ve heard it all before”.

You also really want to see managers be considerate about your work needs. We’ve all got busy, complicated lives. When managers make us work unrealistic shift patterns or are inflexible about taking time off or swopping shifts, our performance and morale suffers.

Happy staff want to be at work! Happy staff don’t have to worry about child care, getting to class or having enough rest to do their best.

Getting the job done and getting it done well

So, the people of and have spoken!

Good management is unafraid to provide strong leadership, looks to the future, is well-versed in theory and practice, puts patients and service users first and really listens to us so we can do our job better.

What do you think?

Are you a manager who tries to put these qualities into practice or do you know a team-member who’s been privileged enough to experience this kind of management?

Comment now below or share the article with your friend and tell us what they think!

About the author

I've had 7 years experience on the front-line of the health and social care industry! In my spare time, I study language, teaching & writing. To relax, I run a board games group & make things but mostly enjoy combining a good book with a good drink.

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