Martin Jones, CEO at Home Instead UK, reflects on what leadership means in social care as he is named runner up of the Social Care Top 30.
I was delighted to be shortlisted in the Social Care Top 30. I attended the evening event and was bowled over to be runner up to the powerhouse that is Clenton Farquharson MBE – hats off to Clenton and everyone else listed in the Top 30.
The role of any leader is to set the vision and to inspire others to follow that vision.
Leadership goes down, sideways, upwards and out. What I mean by this is that you inspire ‘down the line’ to the people who work in your organisation, sideways leadership is all about your peers and the sector you work in and upwards is the thought leadership strand which in my case, includes having influence globally.
As a leader I am clear about the issues I wish to lead and campaign on: championing quality care, championing the role of care work, looking at how technology can support the work we do and preventing isolation and loneliness.
I am very aware that, as the leader of a franchise network with over 240 offices, employing 12,000 Care Professionals, the Home Instead brand has the opportunity to amplify the messages we feel are important. It presents a massive opportunity to create change by influencing discussions going on around the UK that impact our sector.
As a network we have a really strong voice and, with that, comes responsibility. My role is very much to influence and encourage so that, although each franchise office is independently owned and managed, we speak with one voice and all pull in the same direction.
Our franchisees are very much leaders in their local communities bringing their influence to bear with community groups, MPs and local leaders; it’s a really exciting dynamic.
But it works both ways. I gain so much knowledge and understanding from everyone in the organisation and this is really invaluable. Taking this to the next level, we have recently announced the formation of a Care Pro Council; an advisory board made up of Care Professionals from across our network. This will allow the people at the sharp end of care to feed into our business strategy, whilst also empowering them to be leaders in their own right, representing our care workforce.
Through our network of offices I have an insight into the homecare landscape that is pretty unique. Never has this been more relevant and come more into play than over the last two years. The learnings I gain daily from our local network allow me to contribute to a wide range of organisations. I think, as leaders, it is incumbent on us to share our knowledge, learning and best practice with as wide a group as possible.
It’s why I was keen to contribute to broader discussions that help shape the care landscape and society as a whole. I have roles with Age UK, The Silver Line, The Homecare Association, The Care Workers’ Charity, TSA and Home Instead Charities.
Through my role on Home Instead’s Executive Leadership team I also have the opportunity to learn from and give my input outside the UK. And just before the pandemic hit I even had the opportunity to address world leaders at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (the OECD).
It’s also really important that, as leaders in social care, we create a leadership movement to inspire people to join the sector and make it a sector of choice at all levels.
In a small way, I see it with my own team who leave for new roles. I know that we are sending them out with their own vision, imbued with our sense of what’s right for the sector. They will then go on to lead in other organisations and it’s really rewarding to see this.