To understand how to be a role model to others, I found it helpful to think of role models in my life and how they inspire, teach and guide me. So, with that in mind here is my reflective account and thoughts on being a role model to the staff in my team.

In the dictionary, the words role model is ‘A person looked up to by others as an example to be imitated. In my current role, there are always opportunities for me to do this. An example of this would be when I took Rosie to visit Molly the client, that I had been working with for a year and had now got a commissioned care package for her support and it was now time to introduce this team member to her.

Part of being a role model is enabling a level of trust that you will show and guide the person you are being a role model to and encourage them to do the best they can.

When I spoke to Rosie, I explained the situation and the support that was involved, what the time spent with Molly involved, having spent a year supporting Molly and initiated a conversation with Rosie and Molly together to create a plan of support.

I was professional and friendly in equal measure and that gave Rosie a better understanding of what is expected.

Being a role model involves encouraging staff that they are valued and trusted to do the job they have been given and encouraging them to learn and understand their role better.

The connection between Rosie and Molly was clear. When they spoke, Molly shared what she wanted to achieve and move forward. Rosie communicated with Molly what her role was and how Molly could be supported in her journey to overcome and move in the direction she wants so much.

To see this is a blessing because it feels that my work with this client will be carried on and I feel so privileged to do the job I do.

Next, how will I ensure I act as a role model to the staff.

I will ensure this by being true to who I am and the reason I am doing this job, which is changing lives and enabling people to be as independent as possible with a person-centred approach. I have a working understanding of the staff team role with clients, so I feel I am able to understand and help where needed. Part of being a role model is responding to staff and situations with the intent to understand. To support the staff team, to be honest with themselves, as I am honest with myself and if there’s been a mistake or something and I could have worded or acted differently in, to apologise.

A role model also inspires people to always go that little bit further to get the best out of themselves and the situation, to always show respect and have clear boundaries and deal with issues and mistakes that may occur. Being a role model is about having integrity about being who you say you are and doing the things, you say you are going to do. Being a role model involves ensuring a safe working environment and helps people to stay accountable when there is a trust to be open about needs and experiences.

A positive attitude is also key to being an effective role model and gives staff the skills to be role models to others.

Never forget the importance of always being humble and gracious when you are being a role model to people because you’ve got someone in your life that has been a role model to you and helped you in your journey. Mentor them, learn from them too, no one is ever too old to learn new things “Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it lives its life believing it is stupid.”

Being a role model is building on the strengths of each person. My final thought is that I want to be a role model who ignites their passion to be the best they can be, to go the extra mile for the clients and for them to never forget the privilege of the job that we have.

- Nay Gaydon, Support Worker & Role Model.