Permission to Be Myself

Somerset Care Success Stories

In October 2014, InterBe launched a Transformational Leadership Programme for Somerset Care. The organisation was facing challenges with staff turnover and was looking for ways to extend the length of service of frontline care staff. It was keen to improve communication and encourage more empowering conversations between managers and frontline staff. It had been through a period of transition and wanted to improve cohesion in the management team and support the development of empowered leadership.


Ultimately, its aim was to create real and lasting organisational change and to engender a new culture built on qualities such as respect, compassion, trust, empathy and fairness.


InterBe created a transformational training programme backed by one-to-one Narrative Coaching. The impact across the organisation was huge.


This is Sue’s story…

Sue’s Story – Permission to Be Myself

Sue Steeds is an Operations Manager leading seven managers and teams, and overseeing seven homes.

I was pretty sceptical about the Transformational Leadership Programme at the beginning, to be honest,” said Sue. “Years ago I did a lot of motivational skills training and I wondered if this would be the same kind of thing. However, it turned out to be something quite different and it has blown my mind.”

One of the greatest things that the programme has given her, according to Sue, is permission to be herself.

Previously in this role, I felt I had to wear a mask. I had a fixed idea of what an Operations Manager should be like but that meant not being true to me. The programme has allowed me to take that mask of and given me permission to be myself. It feels like a huge weight off my shoulders.
Sue Steeds

Being true to herself has contributed to a breakthrough in Sue’s relationship with her line manager. “When my line manager joined, at times, I found her rather intimidating. I sometimes found myself becoming apprehensive when her name came up on the phone. The training made me recognise how much of this I was inventing myself. I was choosing to take everything personally. I’ve stopped doing this and the relationship we now have is completely different. I trust her and I feel comfortable in her company, I feel able to be myself, to put ideas forward and not feel inadequate. I feel valued and part of my immediate team. I know I can challenge or ask questions if I don’t understand.”


Not only is her relationship with her manager radically different but so, too, is the way she interacts with colleagues in her team. “I actively listen to what people now say and give them free rein to try things with my support, if needed. It was always my instinct to do this but I worried about the implications. I am far less concerned about this now and it is interesting to note that my managers are achieving more and feeling more valued since I’ve been like this. There are seven managers who are cascading this approach down to their staff. This will also impact on the residents that we work with and their families. That is a lot of lives that are affected. The best outcomes for all and the services we provide.”


Another area of transformation for Sue is her relationship with the staff team at head office. “I used to feel uneasy when I went into head office but now the atmosphere is completely different. People talk to you, it feels more relaxed, it feels as though we are all part of a team. It is a much better place to walk into.”

Sue’s ability to listen in a way that she has not been able to before was tested recently when a Deputy Manager was promoted but found the new job to be challenging in a way that she had not anticipated.


“It became obvious that she was struggling and I decided to really listen to what she was saying. The conclusion I came to was that, for many different reasons, this wasn’t really the right job for her at this point in time. It would have been easier to overlook this and just leave her in post, but the impact of this might have been that she chose, ultimately, to leave the company or that we risked the business and staff. By tackling the issue in the way I did with support from my line manager and HR, we were able to agree for her to return to her former role. This has enabled her to remain with the company and headed off a range of potential problems.”


Sue concludes: “As a result of this training, I now look at people in a different light. It is helping me to overcome habits built up over 58 years. I realise that, in the past, I invented things which might never have happened. Now I really listen to what is being meant and I don’t take things personally. As a result, I really feel better in all areas of my life. I am aware that everything that I have learnt needs to be practiced and is ongoing; it is changing who I am at work and at home. I feel like I am now being Sue.”

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