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Caring for the community – Teresa revels in making a difference

Caring for the community – Teresa revels in making a difference

Naked Leader Week 806- 28 January 2019

Time to Read: 5 minutes

Caring for the community – Teresa revels in making a difference

For this month’s Leader Feature, Clive Barrett, speaks with Teresa Mangonon – a care home manager who achieves high quality care through happy staff members:

MOVING away from her comfort zone was the making of Teresa Mangonon.

In 2014 Teresa felt able to “reinvent myself” with a move to Prestwick to manage a care home having switched from a similar role in Oxford to Scotland’s oldest baronial burgh.

In five years, Teresa, from the Philippines, has made a huge success of her life in business.

In true Naked Leader style, Teresa went out and did it in an area where nobody knew her, which she said helped.

She explains: ‘I always felt there is a lot of proving to do before people put their trust and confidence in you, but that’s what makes it challenging.

‘When people do not know what to make of you or how to deal with you, that makes the work fun.’

The care home she took over was at an all-time low. Complaints, serious issues, high turnover of staff, low morale, business haemorrhaging money and stakeholders unhappy. The only way was up and Teresa made sure she was the one to turn fortunes around.

Her philosophy was…

  1. Good preparation is key
  2. Happy staff means productive staff
  3. Hard work pays off
  4. Knowledge will give you power and good character will give you respect

‘I had to learn how to understand Scottish accent quick,’ she smiles. ‘I had to learn the Scottish regulations related to care and learn the Scottish Care Inspectorate’s standards and framework.

‘It was not easy. I also learnt quickly that to quote or say how the English do things is a bad idea.’

Getting her hands dirty was Teresa’s starting point, so she could best understand the business.

‘I cleaned bedrooms and toilets with the domestic staff, worked in the kitchen, washed and dressed residents and did my shift as a nurse. It was tough and at times heart-breaking but it was good that I did it.

‘After the first week of working with them, I gathered them all for a staff meeting. First thing I said was “RESPECT”. I told of my experiences and told them how much I respect them for what they do. All were attentive and they started to share their difficulties. After our sharing, we discussed actions we need to do to improve it.

‘I encouraged them to think of ways to be efficient. I told them of how fast food chains and other companies do things to deliver a quick but efficient and effective service. “How do reduce all the nonsense so you can spend more quality time with the residents”.’

Staff taking ownership was key.

‘The action was simple,’ she says. ‘Clarifying to all what their roles were and giving them a list of tasks from the start of shift to the time it ended. Who was doing what was made clear. We ordered trolleys and other equipment to assist and to hasten moving stuff from one place to another and I had encouraged them all to come up with new ideas to improve practice and be efficient and share it at our daily flash meetings.

‘The outcome was amazing. Almost instantly, the workplace was a lot calmer and morale was a lot better. Staff appeared more confident, started to smile more and seem to enjoy their work more. ‘More importantly, they were able to spend more time with residents which in effect made the residents particularly with Dementia a lot calmer. Relatives were a lot happier too and complaints had started to reduce.’

Persuading her deputy, who had resigned, to stay was crucial and she adds: ‘I accepted everyone’s resignation except hers. I returned her resignation letter unopened and told her to give me a month.

‘If after a month she still wanted to leave she could do so without giving a notice period. Her resignation letter remains in a drawer unopened.’

So what tips does she have for making such a transition?

‘If you accept a tough project, you should be prepared to work hard and to spend long hours. If you invest your time and energy while the momentum is there, things will be a lot better for you. I invested my time in my staff and trained them well. I encouraged them to think and make decisions – something they used to be scared to do. I worked hard in promoting the culture of kindness and of caring and respecting.’

With new ideas and project ideas encouraged, together with incentives from management, Teresa had ‘made work fun’ to the point the care home was voted Best Place to Work in South Ayrshire in 2015.

‘I mean well for our residents, am passionate in looking after welfare, I have the knowledge that gave me a lot of confidence and I have genuine intentions, which all helped me get stakeholders onside,’ adds Teresa.

‘I asked them to give me a chance and they did.’

Her strategy is now being implemented elsewhere in the group and she explains: ‘My team and I go to other failing care homes in the company and turn them around. Then we hand it back to the manager. My team and I enjoy this. We also noticed we are getting better and better that we can turn around a failing business in lesser time.’

A woman of the people, for the people. Teresa exemplifies business at its best.

Thank you Teresa and Clive.

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With my love and best wishes to you all



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