What is practice leadership?

Training a staff team so they understand how to meet the needs of a person with complex disabilities is a dynamic and interactive process. We believe that developing an individual to become an effective member of staff requires much more than just training - which is why we combine high quality training with Practice Leadership.

Practice Leadership encourages managers to demonstrate effective support by modelling the desired behaviours and using practical examples. This ensures that their team feel truly supported by a manager who understands the reality of their role. Staff learn how to deliver high quality support through detailed feedback and develop in their role through frequent team discussions and seeing managers showing the way with their actions. All of these elements are crucial to providing high quality support that focuses on the individual and meets their needs.


Where did it come from?

As a style of management, Practice Leadership was first suggested as an important factor determining the quality of support for people with learning disabilities by Mansell, Hughes and McGill (1994). Its importance was highlighted to us in 2005 as part of our ongoing development of Active Support (Beadle-Brown & Ashman, 2006), since then we have been developing and refining ways to ensure frontline managers are skilled and confident Practice Leaders.


Our Practice Leaders

Our Practice Leaders are frontline managers who specialise in support delivery and are experts in translating theory into practice. We go beyond simply putting systems in place and filling in paperwork, our managers provide guidance and clear expectations which unites and inspires their team.


“Practice Leadership is a central issue in enabling people providing support to do a good job… Practice Leaders are the custodians of the vision of the team and its culture” 

- Mansell & Beadle-Brown 2012

“… A practice leadership management style promotes positive staff experiences when working in challenging environments”

- Deveau & McGill, 2016

Download our Practice Leadership Booklet

Our Practice Leadership Framework

Our Practice Leadership Framework defines the important elements of practice leadership, which fit into two areas: Showing the Way (the yellow half), and Guiding (the green top half).


This framework is used to develop a range of tools and resources to enable effective recruitment, training, career development and support for the individuals tasked with this critical role.