Manifesto: the practicalities of leadership

As with a certain CEO's “Black Box” ideas, I've coalesced some of my favorite ingredients to lead a senior living community, some of which are translate-able to other industries. Many thanks to some awesome directors exhibiting these ingredients daily, for being an example to us all. Key points:
  • Client identification: There is a four-fold client base: residents, their families and loved ones, staff, and community partners.
  • Making time: One must always make time for any resident or family – never walking past without a greeting and a moment of sincerity and meaning.
  • Response: As I've addressed in a recent article, responses must be quick – whether email, phone, in-person, text
  • Compassion: In serving seniors, their families, staff and community partners, the work can never be “a job.” We must always remember the journey and perspective of the resident and their loved ones.
  • Expertise: Particularly when working with residents with dementia or mental health needs, the team must be coached on best practices, diagnoses and disease processes. Through knowledge, the team is better able to serve residents and families, and the team feels better about their contributions.
  • Community partners & competitors: We must build relationships. Community partners give a wider sense of client needs, industry trends, and applicable solutions. Competitors – whether direct or indirect – can be (direct or indirect) partners. There have been many occasions in which I have initiated professional relationships with key potential competitors, developing a network of support and expertise.
  • Invoices: Invoices must be verified for accuracy and receipt of service, and paid quickly – never past due.
  • Right fit: It is important for all aspects of HR to have the right person in the right position – this must be considered in hiring, coaching, and promotions.
  • Budget: Whether labor, census, revenue, expenses – budgets must be monitored in real-time and action must be taken thusly to expand or trim based on current conditions.
  • Open door: Key directors must be accessible and visible for residents, families, staff and community partners. Their doors must be open – whether literally, or figuratively.
  • Accountability: I'm a staunch proponent of team accountability – out of respect for each employee and the entire team, it is critical to be aware of abilities, successes, tasks completed / not.. The goal is to collaborate - celebrating achievement and coaching for improvement.
  • Regulations: It goes without saying that key leaders – whether GM, nursing, or marketing – must be knowledgeable about state regulations. 
All this boiled down: relationships, expertise, accountability.

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