Thursday, September 5, 2019

Patrick Tomlinson 32 Blogs and Articles



Click here to download a Free PDF download of my 32 Blogs and Articles on Professional and Personal Development, Leadership, Integration, Neuroscience, Trauma, Empathy and Therapeutic work with Traumatized Children, among other subjects. Please feel welcome to share.



Friday, May 24, 2019

Shared Adversity, Shared Understanding: Foster Caring with a Disability


Introduction
I am delighted to introduce this inspiring guest blog by Jon Powton. I came across Jon recently when I read an article in the Guardian, a national UK newspaper. He was featured in it about being a foster carer with a disability. Jon talks movingly of becoming disabled; of the adversities, prejudices and discrimination experienced; of the barriers to becoming a foster carer; of being a foster carer – the challenges and rewards; of the care system and politics.

The reality of exclusion of people with disabilities from foster care (and many other aspects of life and work) has gone ‘under the radar’ for too long. This is a great loss to us all. Jon is doing an excellent job in raising awareness. I hope you enjoy this this thought-provoking article and please share. 

Patrick Tomlinson

Disability and Adversity
Adversity is a word you hear quite often as a foster carer. It seems to sit hand in glove with the profile of many of the children who come into the care system. The adversity, hardship and horror that some children and even their families may have faced, can leave lifelong scars that few other people can truly relate to.

From most people’s perspective adversity applies to us all in some way on occasions in life. We’ve all experienced low points in our own way. The death of a relative, or a serious injury that has made life difficult for a period - losing a job, the ending of a relationship or financial hardship. There are many reasons, but with time and support those scars do tend to heal, and often we can change our own circumstances to improve things. I suppose one of the main groups who can experience lifelong adversity in a similar way to ‘looked after’ children are people with disabilities or serious life limiting illnesses and conditions.

I wasn’t born with a disability, I grew up around it, and lived in a house with it all my childhood.  My grandfather was confined to a wheelchair and lived with my parents, my siblings and I until his death when I was eleven. He died from complications caused by Mus­cular Dystrophy. The very same condition that I was diagnosed with six years later. This was a bombshell! It may seem naive considering the circumstances of my childhood, but no one ever thought that me and my brother would have the same condition.  So little was known about when I was born back in seventies. Nobody truly understood how it worked or how it transmitted through DNA.

It led to a hard time for me. Seventeen isn’t a good age for anyone at the best of times. I felt anger and bitterness about this dream shattering news, the disappointment about my life goals being taken away and fear of my new future - all suddenly being piled on top of the insan­ity of being a teenager. It was not an easy time at all. In fact, it was the best part of a decade and a half before I was anywhere close to coming to terms with it, if we do ever actually come to terms with such a thing. Maybe it’s more of an acceptance thing in the end, an acceptance of not being able to change it and its inevitable impacts!

Perhaps the hardest part for me were the memories I had of the illness that I’d witnessed first-hand in my Grandfather. The slow creeping decay as the condition develops and chips away at a person’s function. The gradual fading away, the lack of dignity that this illness can cause in the end. I know that in some way this will inevitably be my fate. I knew it then, and I know it now, which makes the acceptance part very real and very significant!

I have seen both sides of disability, firstly not having it and being able bodied, then having it and not being fully able bodied. 
Caring for a life limiting condition is not the same as caring with a life limiting condition. 

I have perhaps the unique perspective of both points of view. Now I am a foster carer, I’m the person with the condition doing the caring.

Inevitably as expected I became disabled slowly over time in an ever-decreasing spiral of capa­city. I trained to be an engineer, and I worked in heavy industry for as long as my condition would allow. The fact that I was eventually ‘turfed out on my ear’ because I was disabled, I will omit from the tale, mostly because it sounds like sour grapes. I then spent several years trying to get back into work within my original skill set, and ultimately failing because I have a disability. I was often the best candidate in the interview until I mentioned my condition. Funny how things can change...

This was perhaps my first taste of disability adversity - the way employers run away from it and don’t see beyond the heightened insurance risk or the perceived lower productivity. I have be­come gradually aware over time to how these new kinds of adversities creep up on you. For a per­son with a disability, adversity isn’t something that stands alone. It comes with a whole host of other issues that pile additional weight onto it. Discrimination, bigotry, attitudinal prejudice, bully­ing and exclusion also play a major part on day-to-day life.

It can present itself in many ways. Some are obviously cruel and intentional, like being laughed at and called names because you walk differently or look different, not being given equal opportunit­ies and so on. Some are unintentional like events that don’t have proper disabled access, toilets or parking. There are lots of reasons, many I haven’t mentioned.

Society itself has a lot to answer for in the way people with disabilities are treated, especially con­sidering that 1 in 5 people have a disability of some kind. Most people only see disability that is either extreme or obvious. Most of us don’t look like Stephen Hawking, but for some reason are expected too, and that anything less somehow doesn’t seem worthy of the title. Be­cause of their own discomfort around serious disability, people form a negative opinion about it that they apply to the word in all circumstances. Most disability is in fact hidden, for example diabetes, or a hearing or visual impairment. 
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to get out of a dis­abled parking space because I don’t ‘look’ disabled. I have Muscular Dystrophy, not man flu....

I’ve recently become involved in a project to examine why more people with disabilities are not actively recruited to be foster carers, and why people with disabilities often don’t engage with employers or events. This has allowed me to highlight some of the key issues around disability and the lack of proactive inclusion for disabled people in mainstream society. It is il­legal in the UK to discriminate against gender, race, sexual orientation, religious denomination, disability etc., etc. We are all aware of the politically correct version of how it should be. We are unfortunately also all very aware of how things far too often play out in reality.

It is perhaps better to phrase it as, 
Not being excluded isn’t the same as being included’ 

As no one actively telling you can’t do a thing, is not the same as someone actively engaging with you and telling you that you can. Albeit similar in terminology, in practice the differences are huge. As I said, I personally know what it is like to apply for dozens of jobs and be the lead candidate right up to the point I mention my disability. I know how it feels to be laughed at on the street. I know what it’s like to not be able to attend events because it’s on the third floor with no lift. This has giv­en me the ability and the right to speak out about it from first-hand experience. I know what it’s like to be a foster carer with a disability and be told I shouldn’t be one!

Society doesn’t engage with disability because historically, all the way back to antiquity a person’s value is judged on their productivity. Even now, how many companies have a ‘piece work’ produc­tion mentality, where the more you do, the more you earn. It’s called the pay packet society. This ethos is carried to this day into mainstream society. Perhaps in many it’s a subconscious thing, but in my experience often it’s not. It filters down through generations where disabled in real terms be­comes a label that seems to mean lesser than abled.  This paints all disabled people as incapable of anything and everything, in complete ignorance of their actual skill set!

This is the reason most employers don’t want us. This combined with the obvious insurance factors, the health and safety aspects or the provision of support they need to put in place to facilitate dis­abled people in the workplace. Great word facilitate, great in hyperbole, not so good in reality.

How many disabled people’s CV’s are Kept on File for further positions’... We all know what it means. It means Not good enough’, but it’s just impossible to prove, so why challenge it.... I see very little facilitating in the wider world at a pace that meets the needs of disabled people. Let’s face it, realistically as an employer why give yourself the hassle of employing Mike, when you can employ Bob who doesn’t have a disability?   Well, perhaps with a little more insight into disability, employers would see the hidden skill sets disabled people possess. Such as, the constant ability to adapt, the drive to overcome challenges, the determination to prove themselves equal, the compassion for others, the pride at being productive and of value, the loyalty they show to the companies who give them equal opportunities. The strength of character and all the things you’re all going to list that I forgot. We don’t live in the 1870’s. This is 21st Century Britain, A former su­perpower, former ruler of most of the known world, former industrial powerhouse, former a lot of things. Surely our great past should have given everyone enough intellect and skill to quickly find a way into the future where this country leads the way in getting the most out of everyone’s ability, even those who can’t climb stairs or lift heavy things. How much better off would we all be if we stopped writing 20% of the population off before finding out where their value is?

It would be remiss of me not to talk about fear, the fear people have of disability. I have met people who have asked me if they can catch it, today in the 21st century, CAN I CATCH IT....seriously, if that is still a thought that people have then not enough inclusion is going on. I have two children living with me who have been with me for eight years, from being very small children. They don’t even often see disability or notice it in people that often. They have become so included in disabled being normal that they just see people as people. They have no fear of a person with a learning disability, facial disfigurement or a person in a wheelchair. To them, like it should be to us all, disability is normal life, and disabled people are not to fear or mock, they are to help and involve. This is what inclusion brings - natural equality and compas­sion. 
No-one chooses to be disabled, no child’s first choice is to be fostered.

I do understand fear of disability. Even as a person with one I still have it; I quite honestly find very severe disability a little unnerving. This is purely because I feel vulnerable, and is a failing in my­self, that I try to overcome. For example, I was once pushed over and injured by someone with a very profound learning disability, not deliberately I must add, but due to my own lack of balance and my condition I couldn’t prevent it. This was enough perhaps understandably, to create unease in me around people with those issues, I struggle with their unpredictability.

For most, it’s their own lack of exposure to disability as children that plays into their lack of un­derstanding and unease around it. It is and always will be human nature to fear what we do not understand. Some people just don’t want to get over it, they just can’t deal with it, and look at people with a disability like I look at spiders. Though if we endeavored to bring disability to people more often and earlier, not just when the Paralympics is on, perhaps we can fuel accept­ance in new generations. I will however never accept spiders.

The question as to why disabled people don’t engage is tricky. Like everyone who judges dis­ability as a thing, we also critically judge ourselves, I know I do. We can and do create some of our own problems and build upon our own reluctance to have another go at things in the face of more ridicule or further rejection. We can also have an elevated sense of entitlement on occa­sions where we all think the world owes us special treatment. Some people with disabilities have this as a permanent personality trait. The vast majority do not, for me it comes and goes. It would be ridiculous to say that I do not have my own fears of myself, and of my limitations and of my future. I suppose I do on occasions allow them to impact me negatively. The key bit of that is ‘on occasions’ not permanently and I constantly try to rise above it, but I accept it is harder for some than it is for me. These fears make me reluctant to engage too, and I battle with myself to do so. I think the battle is the war I need to win in myself to change things. So, I push aside the fears and anxiety as best I can, and throw myself head first at life and the role I now have. Win or lose I am determined to try because the children I care for are more important than I am. They are what matters most to me, not my limitations. I do it for them and want to change the world for them. Like anyone who sees themselves as a parent, foster parent or otherwise we all want the best for our kids!

It is at this point I must sing, (If somewhat reluctantly as I’m not here to plug) the praises of the fostering agency I work with, the National Fostering Agency (NFA). After engaging with me about dis­ability and disability recruitment into fostering – NFA changed their training venue in my hometown be­cause it had no disabled access. This was entirely of their own doing when they realised the situation, and they actively engaged with me to find a more suitable location. This follows on from the amazing support they have given me from the very first conversation I had with them when I wanted to foster!

It’s proactive engagement like this that feeds into a better future for everyone. The children who need safe, happy homes; disabled people who feel valued and relevant; and the staff who gain insight and experience around disability and its issues, which helps them have a more inclusive and positive view of disability to carry forwards throughout their careers.

I was asked when writing this to show some ways in which I have met the challenges I have listed, and that has proven difficult to answer. To be honest I don’t have a strategy as such, I try to face things head on. I do have a sense of humour, but I feel the same hurt and anger as any other disabled person when I get mocked in the street or judged as incapable. Shouting and screaming isn’t the answer, I tried it, and it doesn’t work, but neither is hiding away a solution. I just get on with it.  I try to be the best and most engaging person I can be, and change people’s view of disability one person at a time. I hope that’s enough. It’ll take more than me to change the world, but I can change my bit of it. I still get annoyed on occasions and tell people they are being stupid and ignorant, but only after I try reason and common sense. Some people are just too moronic to recognise it. I have a low tolerance threshold for stupid, sorry. 
I do try to show people that a condition or a limitation isn’t a definition. I’m not defined by my Muscular Dystrophy, I’m affected by it. 

It may seem ridiculous to some, but my condition gave me some things back for all it took away. It gave me compassion, mental strength, and a dogged de­termination to be seen as the same. Not to mention an understanding of ‘adversity’ that I can use to relate to the children whom I care for. Like them I know what it’s like to suffer at the hands of others. Those experiences gave me the strength to overcome it and that’s what I need to give them.

Adversity is not a disabled dance troupe, nor is it owned by the disabled, though perhaps they do have a stake on the longevity of how they experience it. Adversity is suffering, it’s pain, it’s de­pression, fear, shame, it is turmoil and it hurts like hell. Exclusion isn’t the solution. Tolerance is a skill that must be learned by us all, me included. Exposure to the things we fear and lack understanding of is the only way to learn about them and overcome them. But I suppose there is little point in me preaching to the converted. So, I suggest if you are a disabled person reading this, go and engage, challenge misconceptions, challenge bigotry with intellect. Go and do the show and tell at school, openly talk about it, you are the expert on the true meaning of disability. Sow the seeds of future acceptance by challenging the current ignorance!

Becoming a Foster Carer
If you want to find true value and acceptance, then perhaps go and foster and use the skills you have that no one else recognises. I have seen first-hand what it feels like to see children accept and inherently promote disability as normal. It’s an amazing thing to see, and it’s an amazing skill to give them, to not be afraid and to overcome what life throws at them, not just with resolve and determination but with pride in themselves. 
I foster because of my abilities, not my disabilities. 

But I recognise that I have gained some unique skills and reference points about life because of the experiences disability has forced upon me. It is the emotional competencies of a foster care that are most important. Disability only comes into if it seriously affects the job demands. I have just tried to find the silver lining on my cloud.

I would expect many people who read this to think, ‘That’s not for me, I can’t do that, I don’t want to lose my benefits, I don’t want to look after crazy damaged kids.... etc., etc.’  This is the point where I need to set straight some of the misconceptions people have about kids in care. The children and young people in care don’t have the skills that you have. They don’t have the ability to process life in the way you do, why would they, nobody ever taught them how. They don’t have the benefits of the upbringing you had from your parents, or the strengths you found in the life you may have had to forge for yourself. They are victims, they are not the cause of their situation. It was caused by all of us, all the people in society who turn a blind eye to the failings in ourselves and the systems we put in place. 
Poverty and lack of social mobility, poor education, substance abuse, lack of options and inequality. These are the problems that create the situations that usually bring children into care.  

And yes, some people just are not fit to be parents through their own failures, but that itself always has a deeper routed cause often based in the above!

The children I have met in the course of my fostering career have been varied and different. Some have bigger things to resolve and deal with than others, but they are all affected by the failures of others. They are affected by the same stigmas and attitudinal prejudices that we as disabled people face. Many resonate with the same fears, angers and self-loathing that I had. Most import­antly though, they do have the ability to heal, they just need our help to do it. Some of the most amazing and most surprising people I have ever met are looked after children. They are not bad. Some have just experience bad things that they have normalised. Some have experienced things that would break us. They have not only lived it for years, they have somehow survived it.

I agree fostering is not for everyone, but that’s not to a person’s detriment. It takes courage to ad­mit you can’t handle it, but I believe it takes more courage to try. It takes more to give yourself to it, to make any difference you can to these children no matter how small, no matter how ungrate­ful they appear at the time. In the end it’s valuable, one day they will recognise that value and maybe that little bit of horror you changed will help break a cycle for the next generation. Their children won’t be victims like they were, because of the skills you gave them.

I realise the thought of losing benefits is always a big issue to disabled people, and everyone thinks they are going to end up on the streets selling the ‘The Big Issue’ newspaper. It’s just not the case. Fostering is hard, it can be thankless, and it is often emotionally draining. To many, disabled or not, it has little appeal. The UK government recognises this obvious fact and have tried in many ways to make doing it viable and rewarding. This is why fostering falls into a special category called ‘home based therapeutic care’. This means that disability benefits are not affected by being a foster carer, you can foster and still claim what you claim. There may also be significant tax breaks.   Wherever you are I would al­ways recommend you get independent professional advice. You may find out that your financial worries about fostering are unfounded.

Over the years people have said to me that fostering is easy money, or money for nothing, and have questioned how hard can it be? The answer is, 
it’s absolutely hard enough to be massively under-subscribed. Hard enough to break your heart on occasions. 
It is in no way like looking after your own birth children. Imagine the hardest parts of raising your own chil­dren, then times it by sexual abuse, starvation, neglect, attempted murder, physical abuse, foetal drug and alcohol addiction, psychological abuse, torture and sexual exploitation or trafficking.

Do you think children without problems come into care? That they are in care because they have not experienced one or many of the above, and it’s just a holiday. No child comes into care because their home life is good. 
  
The Challenge and Reward of Being a Foster Carer

To those who criticise foster carers, and there are many who do, or those who question a foster­ing agency’s business model’s morality, saying it is wrong to profit from fostering - I don’t know, I don’t run the business. Personally, I would suggest no more so than it is to profit from be­ing a Physiotherapist or a Dentist working in private practice. Is it wrong to run a profitable busi­ness in the human services? Or is the profit the reason the businesses are successful? Surely if the outcomes for children are good, then the cost is worth it. In England, there are many Local Authority Children Services in crisis, or struggling. You don’t tend to find it with tier one independent agencies.... just a thought. Isn’t the private sector driven to do better, to succeed? Surely the motivation for any business to work is its ability to provide the best service and be better than its competitors!

It is easy to say it’s easy, easy to belittle by those who don’t do it and don’t understand its realit­ies. I would suggest if it’s so easy then please go and give it a go for a year. I won’t even say I told you so, when you realise just how spectacularly you are wrong!

Be warned though, to any of you who think fostering is just some sort of path to easy money or some sort of job for old rope. You will very quickly find yourself wrong and it’s probably not for you. It’s not a job for anyone without huge commitment, dedication and perseverance. It is a professional and difficult role, for which you must be trained. The very best is expected and demanded of you and it’s 24/7/365. It takes great mental strength, drive and determination to succeed to do it well. Fostering is a Job that very quickly becomes a vocation for those who love it. Vocation or not we are professionals, who play a major role in the rehabilitation of children’s well-being. We are at the vanguard of caring for and slowly fixing those who society disavowed, abused and mistreated. Nobody has ever re­mained a foster carer for the money. Any that set out with that in mind will not last. But it is im­possible to do it without money - self-esteem doesn’t pay the mortgage, the rent or the gas bill. Moral high ground doesn’t put food on the table or allow me to clothe, feed, transport, take on holiday, pay for school dinners, trips, toys, Christmas, birthdays etc. No fostering allowance pays for the love and care and attention I give my children, that’s free and always has been. The fostering al­lowance merely facilitates the provision of a home for them to live in and the required necessities to allow a normal life for the children.

To the disabled person, if you do consider it, you should not expect special treatment because you have a disability. You will be (and rightly so) assessed like everyone else and surely that’s a good thing. You will succeed or fail based on your ability to meet the needs of a child, not your disability. If you fail then that’s because you cannot meet those needs. Be realistic and be prepared to be treated like everyone else. A lot of able-bodied people can’t meet the needs of a child either. Hand on heart it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It actually matters. It’s worth it and it changes lives. To me it is a privilege to be able to look after other people’s chil­dren and change their futures for the better. So, if you believe you can do it, find out. Currently in the UK there is a need for 10,000 foster homes.  There are 13,000,000 people with disabilities. 0.07% of the disabled community who could solve the national tragedy of foster care shortage. Less than one tenth of one percent! There are also big foster care shortages in many other countries, such as the USA. The same principle applies. 

Fostering has given me a purpose beyond myself, it has given me back a sense of self-worth that the world tried to beat out of me. It has made me a better person and I am stronger because of it. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to challenge themselves and rise above the stereo­types and labels society wants to put on you. But most importantly, help give a future to these children and young people.

Reference

Frances Ryan (2019) Being a foster carer is the best thing that I've done with my life, in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/15/foster-carer-best-thing-disabled-people-shortage

See Jon Powton LinkedIn Profile for links to relevant articles, etc.

Contact Jon Powton if you have any questions - Jon_powton@hotmail.co.uk

Friday, March 1, 2019

Personal Development Assessment (PDA) for the Purposes of Staff Recruitment and Development


        

SENSE OF PURPOSE
PERSEVERANCE
OWNERSHIP (RESPONSIBILITY)
GROWTH v FIXED MINDSETS
SUPPORTIVE/DEMANDING SCALES

INTRODUCTION The Personal Development Assessment (PDA) is created by Patrick Tomlinson for the purposes of staff recruitment and development.  It is based on many years’ experience and research into the personal qualities most associated with successful performance and development.  The aim is to assist organizations in achieving excellent outcomes in staff recruitment, retention and development.

The assessment is carried out by interview by Skype, etc. Therefore, it is easy and efficient to plan. It takes 1-1 ¼ hours.  It can be used in a wide variety of professions. It is especially relevant to those involved in demanding and challenging work.  It can also be used by individuals to focus on their own development.     

The PDA can be used to inform decision making on the recruitment of new staff, as well as the promotion or change of role for existing staff.  It is relevant to all levels of position from entry to senior.  It assesses - 
·       The personal qualities that are linked with resilience, positive performance and development,
·       Where a person is now in their development.
·       The level of demand and responsibility currently capable of .
·       Potential in the short to long-term. 

Results from the assessment provide important information to consider an applicant’s suitability for a role and potential for development.  This can also be used to help create an Individual Development Plan.  It is anticipated that the consistent use of the assessment will contribute to significant improvements in,

  • staff retention
  • reduced absence from work
  • staff engagement
  • quality of performance
  • staff development

The assessment areas are informed by research that identify the qualities most associated with strong resilience and development.  It looks at the candidate’s life and work experiences, personal qualities and views on key issues. Each assessment area has its own focus, but also overlap with each other.  The areas covered in the assessment are,

  • Sense of Purpose
  • Perseverance
  • Ownership (Responsibility)
  • Growth v Fixed Mindsets
  • Supportive – Demanding Scale 1 (‘Parenting’ Style, Personal Development– general approach to one’s own development and that of others) 
  • Supportive – Demanding Scale 2 (Professional Development, People Management)
See Appendix 1 for Glossary of terms

ASSESSMENT AND FEEDBACK
There are three parts to the assessment process
1.      Carrying out the interview
2.      Assessing the interview
3.      Providing feedback
The same interview and assessment are used for all purposes. It may be used for staff recruitment or development, or both.

Confidentiality All interviews respect confidentiality. Where an organization is involved only the overall assessment results are shared.  Personal content of the interview is not shared except with the permission of the candidate or when it is appropriate to share concerns.   



Feedback Option 1 is most suited to entry level positions where there are many assessments to carry out.
Option 2 This includes the information from Option 1 and full assessment report and recommendations for development (See Appendix 2).  This can be especially helpful where the development of internal candidates is a part of the process.  A ½ hour feedback session is also offered to the candidate with a copy of the report.  In both options the feedback reports are emailed to the organization within 1-2 working days of the interview.   

Costs A full summary of costs is available on inquiry, with any other queries to Patrick Tomlinson   ptomassociates@gmail.com    Further info @ www.patricktomlinson.com
Organizations can also be trained in carrying out the assessments.

Patrick Tomlinson Brief Biography: The primary goal of Patrick’s work is the development of people and organizations.  Development is the driving force related to positive outcomes - for service users, professionals and organizations.  It is closely associated with general happiness and fulfillment, which underpins successful achievement. 

Patrick’s experience spans from 1985, mainly in the field of specialist residential and foster care services.  Beginning as a residential care worker, he has since been team leader, senior manager, Director, CEO, consultant and mentor.  He is a qualified clinician, strategic leader and manager and author of many publications.  He is vastly experienced in staff recruitment, training and development.  He has carried out longitudinal studies and research on staff retention.  With one organization staff retention was improved by 60% and maintained for 5 years. 

In 2008 Patrick Tomlinson Associates was founded to provide development services for individuals and organizations.  Since then services have been provided to clients in Australia, Japan, UK, Ireland, India and Portugal, among others.

APPENDIX 1 - GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Personal Development - The way an individual has developed over time and his/her potential development.  Each person’s development is unique with different development styles.  Personal qualities may either promote or hinder development. 

Sense of Purpose – Having a clear view of one’s life purpose and commitment to it.  A strong sense of purpose is like a vocation or calling.  A job or occupation is seen as contributing to a bigger cause that benefits others.  Having a sense of purpose is strongly linked with resilience and development. 

Perseverance - The ability to carry out continuous deliberate practice, to persist and overcome obstacles.  Each person’s capacity is unique. It can change, grow and develop.  Perseverance is strongly linked to resilience and development.

Ownership (Responsibility) – The capacity to take ownership of one’s life, challenges and development. People with strong ownership take responsibility for themselves in all aspects of life. 

Growth v Fixed Mindsets – A person’s outlook on change and development can be categorized into growth and fixed mindsets.  People with growth mindsets tend to believe in the possibility of change at the micro and macro levels – from self to society.  They tend to see difficulty as opportunity.  People with fixed mindsets, tend to believe that change is not so likely.  People with growth mindsets are more likely to persevere and work through difficulties rather than give up.  Growth mindsets are like having an open mind and fixed mindsets a closed mind.    

Resilience - The capacity to sustain oneself in challenging situations.  The ability to keep on a positive pathway following setbacks.  Resilience is important to continuous positive development.  Sense of Purpose, Perseverance, Ownership and Growth Mindsets all contribute to resilience and development.

Supportive – Demanding Scales - Development is spurred both by demands and support. Demands push, focus and stretch a person, while support encourages and enables.  It is the balance of the two that leads to optimal development.

Our first experiences of development are as an infant.  They are significantly influenced by our parents and other caregivers.  This continues throughout childhood and into adulthood.  The word parent derives from the Latin verb 'parere' – 'to bring forthdevelop or educate'.  Therefore, parenting style has general relevance - to work with clients, colleagues and teams.  It is likely that a person has a similar approach to others as they do to themselves. By using a horizontal demanding scale and vertical supportive scale, 4 quadrants are created,
  • Supportive-Demanding – S-D
  • Supportive-Undemanding – S-Ud
  • Unsupportive-Undemanding Us-Ud
  • Unsupportive-Demanding – Us-D
Supportive means a quality of nurturing development, through encouragement, concern, empathy and positive reinforcement.  Demanding means having clear expectations, goal setting, constructive criticism, challenging, holding accountable and a focus on improvement.  Research has shown that those who are in the S-D quadrant are likely to achieve the most positive development outcomes.  Through experience and practice it is possible to improve one’s development style.

‘Parenting’ Style, Personal Development – This scale focuses on how a person is likely to approach the development of themselves and others.  It is especially relevant to parenting and work with clients.  Developing a high level of competence in this area can support professional development and people management.  The two scales often overlap.

Professional Development, People Management – This scale focuses on how a person is likely to approach the development of adults.  For example, of colleagues or team members. It may also reflect a person’s approach to their own development.  It is especially relevant to progress into management and senior positions.  This area of development can be challenging and usually continues to develop many years into work.

Potential Development - This is the pathway a person may aim for.  Each person’s pathway is different, both in terms of direction and pace.  However, everyone has the potential to develop and grow.  The starting point is knowing where one is and where one would like to get to.  Potential development is usually helped by the support, encouragement and expectations of others.  One’s own commitment to development and ongoing perseverance are also key.

Development Plan - An individual’s development plan is a way of capturing developmental needs and turning them into focused goals.  The goals need to be relevant to the individual’s developmental and the role that he he/she is in.  Individual and organizational goals need to be aligned.  The plan is agreed between the individual and his/her supervisor/mentor.  Usually a plan looks at the year ahead and progress is reviewed on a regular basis.  At the end of the year it is fully reviewed, and a new plan created.

APPENDIX 2 – OPTION 2 FULL ASSESSMENT REPORT

PTA – PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT

This assessment can be used for used for considering the suitability of the candidate for different professional roles. It focuses on the candidate’s character and personal development in terms of,
·       Sense of purpose
·       Perseverance
·       Ownership (Responsibility)
·       Growth v Fixed Mindset
·       Supportive-Demanding scales - approach to development of self and others

The assessment focuses on characteristics that are associated with successful performance and positive development. It can also be used to inform the candidate’s development plan. For a full picture of the candidate’s present capability and potential - this assessment should be considered alongside assessment of the candidate’s professional skillset and capability.   

Candidate:  Jo xxxxx                                  Assessor:
Organization:                                               Int. No.:         Date:

Assessment Results



Summary: Jo has a strong sense of purpose supported by a positive change mindset. Her sense of purpose and belief in the possibility of change are clearly connected. This positive philosophy is reflected in her own development, responsibility and willingness to take on new challenges. Jo’s perseverance is not quite so strong, and she may lose her focus especially when she feels unsupported. On these occasions she may appear to take less responsibility for herself. To further develop she will need stretching in her work.  Jo will benefit from a supportive mentor who will keep her on task.  Without this there may be a tendency to drift in her work and development.  




X ‘Parenting’ Style, Personal Development: Jo has a strong style, which is well balanced between a supportive and demanding approach.  This means that the she understands the need for nurture as well as clear expectations.  It is likely that she has a high level of competence in this area.  This may be due to life experiences and practice in work.

Y Professional Development, People Management: Jo has a good balance between supportive and demanding styles. However, there is room for development in both.  She tends to be more supportive than demanding.  Colleagues and direct reports are likely to find her supportive but may not be fully stretched by her.  A focus on this area will help develop the skills to become a successful manager in a challenging environment.  Because Jo has developed a positive level of overall competency but is not so high on the adult demanding scale there could be a tendency to stay within a comfort zone.

Overall Summary and Recommendations for Development: Jo’s assessment results suggest she is a resilient person with a strong sense of purpose.  She has a change mindset and a positive level of perseverance.  Though there may be a tendency to lose focus from time to time.  She is well balanced in ‘parenting’ style/personal development.  Jo tends to be more supportive than demanding and especially so in the way she works with adults.


Overall Jo has achieved positive development and a good level of competency. However, in a management role she may struggle to have a consistent expectation of others. Her development and management ability will benefit from a clear plan, with stretch goals and regular review of progress.  A supportive mentor/manager who can also hold her to task and keep her focused will be helpful.  Jo’s assessment results suggest she has the potential to become effective in a management/senior position.