Leadership stories: developing effective supervision

Improving understanding about supervision
Published in Reports on 21 May 2018


This leadership and supervision project worked with three organisations from across the social services sector: Nether Johnstone House, Simon Community Scotland and Dundee City Council. Each organisation formed a project team to work with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and Iriss, whose role was to facilitate discussion and explore actions with each of the partner organisations. Further support was provided by CCPS and Loretto Care. Iriss and SSSC linked partners in with existing support materials including the leadership logic model, the Supervision Learning Resource (SSSC, 2016), and other resources available through Step into Leadership. This work also contributed to the Leadership Strategy Implementation Plan.

The intended outcomes

  • Increased understanding of how the leadership logic model could be used to support leadership activity and evaluation
  • Improved understanding of the enablers and barriers to good leadership
  • Improved understanding about the relationship between leadership and management in the context of supervision for practitioners and managers
  • Clarity about the role of good management in effective leadership
  • Improved understanding about supervision

The project ran from June 2017 to March 2018. Between this period of time three workshops per organisation were held, two shared action learning days and a final event for a wider audience.

The timeline

Leadership stories timeline
Leadership stories timeline

Please go to our process and resources page to learn more about the approach we used with the organisations and resources that were used throughout the project.

The stories

The following short stories were captured with the help of The Village Storytelling Centre, with each of the three partner organisations telling their journeys through the project in their own way.

Simon Community Scotland

Simon Community Scotland wanted the project to make a difference to how leaders and staff could experience supervision, and as a result be more confident in their own leadership and management capabilities. They hoped this would then have a real impact on the people who use their services. Listen to their story about the changes they have made.

Nether Johnstone House

Nether Johnstone House wanted the project to ultimately make a difference to the young people they work with by supporting their staff team to become more confident and empowered. The staff themselves would also benefit by having a greater involvement in, and understanding of, leadership taking place at all levels. Listen to their story about the changes they have made.

Dundee City Council

The Iriss/SSSC project team had a number of initial conversations with senior and team managers working within social work at Dundee City Council. They wanted to explore what supervision currently looks like within their work and how this could be positively developed in the future. The three team managers who then directly took part in the workshops used the process to connect with each other, explore the similarities they experienced in their roles, and develop how they could positively impact both leadership and supervision practices for themselves and their teams. Their story is a part fictional account based on the learning and reflections from their journey.

Iriss and SSSC: project reflections

The project facilitators offer their reflections of the project, what it involved, the changes it made and the main messages to take away. Listen to their accounts.

Iriss and SSSC: partner progress reflections

This recording captures reflections from SSSC (Lorna Dalton, Susan Nevill) and Iriss (Ellen Daly, Stuart Muirhead) a year on from the end of the Leadership Stories project. The team reflect on feedback provided from two of the three partners about the impact of the project and changes implemented as a result. 


Next steps

Both Iriss and SSSC will be continuing their work around supervision and leadership. If you would like to know more about this work, please feel free to contact us.