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 The Parkway Senior Living, 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 has a direct link to trust and encouragement. I’m empowered, and likewise empower my department heads to make decisions. I am trusted to make decisions without running it through multiple levels of approval and I empower my leaders to do the same. I encourage them and trust them to own their department and I support them in their decisions. Empowerment wouldn’t exist if those three elements didn’t exist.
Leading those who are empowered lightens my own workload and allows me to focus on necessary issues. Putting the right person in place and empowering them to show up as themselves and make decisions in own their department means everyone is accountable for their results. I can provide support and leadership to them as opposed to directing them and falling into a micromanaging routine. Empowering my team leads to happier and higher functioning leaders.
I think a large part of empowering my team is ensuring I am there as support. They can discuss things with me if they are uncertain of how to achieve a goal or what next steps they should take, but it is always a conversation as opposed to a directive. A large part of empowerment is helping guide an individual to a decision as opposed to just telling them what to do to get where they are wanting to go. I strive to have very open and trusting relationships with my team, and then I show up and support them in their decisions and goals. If I did not take that step of being supporting, it would undermine their feeling of empowerment.
I truly believe one of the greatest threats to the senior living industry is staffing retention. Because it is such a saturated industry, someone can leave and find a new position within days doing the same job somewhere else. Empowering my team to set and achieve goals and take ownership within their departments creates a unique atmosphere that is appealing. While the tasks can be done in any senior living community, our community provides growth and support.
I have always wanted to be incredibly close to expenditures and financials. I have found, in my time at The Parkway, not micromanaging has created a greater sense of empowerment with my team and they are doing exactly what they are supposed to. Letting go a little and allowing them the opportunity to manage their own budgets has created a trusting relationship and achieved greater alignment with the overall budget. I continue to educate and look at expenses with them, but when asked, “Can I do this?” my answer throws the decision back to them. They look at, very closely, whether something is necessary and how to adjust to fit it into the budget when it is.
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.
The Parkway Senior Living in Blue Springs, MO offers senior villas, independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Luke’s Eastwith convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Adams Point Golf Course, KC Royals Stadum, KC Chiefs Stadium, Sporting KC, KC Comets, KC Mavericks, Adams Dairy Landing, and Blue Springs Parks, Trails, and Lakes .
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