The little voice of Ofsted whispers in your ear, ‘you are supposed to be committed to inspired leadership, so why did you just talk at your team’?

Inspired leadership really can set you free because it includes thinking out of the box in a way that achieves maximum results or win win situations for everyone. Imagine – you feel happy and positive, your team feel happy and positive, and your young people feel happy and positive. The exact opposite of how people feel when reactionary leadership is common place.

‘Commit to inspired leadership and supervision of staff, which is real and soulful and lifts them up to be the best they can be’.

Your staff meeting is the first place to start a ‘communication revolution’ that will grow your team but first we have to weed out knee jerk reactions.  Knee jerk reactions don’t inspire people, and they make us look small minded and controlling.  It might be that if things have gone pear shaped up until now or your team are less respectful than you hoped; you might just be using the wrong recipe including, the knee jerk reaction leading to the knee jerk policy.

Definition of a knee jerk reaction – An automatic or reflex reaction; an immediate reaction made without examining causes or facts.

The reaction is generally applied every time something goes wrong. Instead of approaching the problem with inspired leadership we respond in a way that alienates our team, loses their respect and adds to our workload no end.   If your staff meeting runs a little bit like the following, then maybe you want to change your style because this kind of leadership won’t help you build respect and co-operation.

Extract – Staff Meeting Minutes

Manager: ‘I know I have said this before, but unless we put a tick in every minuscule box in the fifty-five-page document we have to complete every day at handover, it could lead to disciplinary action. Yes, I know you have been busy but…


Manger: ‘Yes, I am aware that the senior was recently awarded (the fictitious incoming) State of the Nation Nobel Prize, and given the keys to the city of Never Never land, having rescued ten people from a 25 story burning building with her bare hands. That does not excuse the fact that, your team keep forgetting to get visitors to sign out. I have told you 100 or more times (eyes rolling), written and discussed this ‘fail’ in your supervision and given you all a verbal warning. Why is it still happening?  As a result, we now have to implement a new policy with additional measures as follows,

 (Roll your mouse over the image and use the arrows at the bottom to view the additional pages.)

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Manager: ‘Got that?’

Team: Silence

Manager: ‘Now then, we have some extra shifts at the weekend would anyone like to cover?’

Although this is an exaggerated example, in social care this approach is all too common. Getting social care policies right at the beginning, streamlined and organised is essential, putting new one’s in place every time we encounter a problem is reactionary, time consuming and in many instances over the top and unnecessary.

Have we lost our perspective? The teams we work with are doing 101 things over and above caring for vulnerable people. We expect them to undertake a million other duties and then we hammer them for small inconsistencies. Knee-jerk policies will destroy you because you are demonstrating how out of touch you are with your teams everyday workplace realities and it looks like you don’t care about those. We often expect our teams to go over and above the call of duty and become indignant when they don’t embrace this with enthusiasm.

How enthusiastic would you be when you give up your free time to help out only to be slammed for not sharpening a pencil or some such thing, then being handed a load more work to do when you are already pushed for time.

If you want to grow a healthy, inspired, productive and willing team, knee-jerk reactions and knee-jerk policies should be banished from your management practice.

Control your knee jerk reactions by asking yourself

‘How important is this?’

‘Does this need my attention?’

‘Will another knee jerk policy benefit anyone?’

Be good to yourself


Social Care Consultant/Writer/Business Coach

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