July 14, 2023
As leaders, we hold the power to inspire, uplift, and bring out the best in our team members. By fostering an environment of empowerment, we can unlock their potential, drive organizational success, and ultimately enhance the lives of the older adults we serve. As the Executive Director of Vitalia North Royalton, I want to explore what empowerment means to me, its impact on the workload, and the strategies I use to empower my team members, as well as the current threats to the senior living industry and how empowerment can be a catalyst for overcoming these challenges.
To me, empowerment goes beyond simply delegating tasks or assigning responsibilities. It means giving individuals the freedom to make decisions, take risks, and learn from their experiences. It involves recognizing and leveraging each person’s unique strengths, skills, and perspectives to create a cohesive and high-performing team.
When those you lead feel empowered, it can have a significant impact on your responsibilities as a leader. Overall, when your team members feel empowered, your responsibilities as a leader shift from controlling and directing to facilitating and supporting. You become a catalyst for growth, productivity, and collaboration, allowing you to focus on strategic leadership, vision setting, and creating an environment that nurtures success.
I try to empower team members in my senior living community to be their best selves and achieve their goals by setting and clarifying our vision and goals, fostering open communication, providing autonomy and decision-making authority, offering opportunities for growth and development, recognize and celebrate achievements regularly, fostering a supportive environment, and to lead by example. Empowerment is an ongoing process. Continuously assess and adapt your leadership approach based on individual strengths, goals, and the evolving needs of the team.
I believe the greatest threat to the senior living industry currently is the increasing demand for quality care and services coupled with the shortage of skilled workers. This is increased by factors such as an aging population, staff turnover, and recruitment challenges. I believe these could be curved by focusing on some key areas such as, retention and engagement, skill development, collaboration, innovation, problem solving, decision making, and enhancing our reputation and resident satisfaction. Empowered team members are more likely to stay, contribute their best efforts, and find innovative solutions to industry challenges, ultimately supporting the success and resilience of the senior living community.
I once worked for a different company that was undergoing transformation and I was approached to help take lead of a team. Initially, I approached the project with more of a controlling mindset, wanting to have a grip on every aspect. However, as the project progressed, I quickly realized my team members weren’t engaged. When I recognized this, it was clear a shift needed to be made. I decided to change my approach and focus on building trust between the team, rather than micromanaging. I then gave the team members autonomy and decision-making authority over their work, and providing support when needed, rather than interfering. By making a few simple changes in myself, I witnessed a remarkable transformation in the team dynamics and the projects outcome.
This experience taught me the power of building trusting relationships rooted in empowerment as a leader. By letting go of control and embracing empowerment, I not only fostered a more engaged team, but also achieved greater results for the company. To me, it reinforced the notion that empowering individuals and trusting their capabilities can yield significant benefits.
In conclusion, as a leader, empowering your team members is not just a noble goal; it is a strategic imperative. By fostering an environment of trust, autonomy, and continuous growth, you unlock the full potential of your team, reduce your own workload, and enhance the well-being of the aging adults you serve. Empowerment becomes a powerful tool to navigate the challenges faced by the senior living industry, fostering resilience, innovation, and sustainable solutions. So, let’s embrace the transformative power of empowerment and lead our teams toward a brighter future.
VITALIA® North Royalton in North Royalton, OH offers 55+ villas, senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include Weatherby’s Restaurant, a 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Comfortably located right on York Road just moments from a wide range of shopping, dining, and attractions.
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