In our last blog, we talked about building a resilient care team – but what does it take to be a resilient leader?
Leading by example is a critical part of inspiring your team and embedding an internal culture of resilience within your organisation. If you yourself aren’t resilient, how can your team be?
When we break it down, resilience is really about your capacity to face adversity, overcome setbacks and recover from challenges to continue living a full life, both on a personal and professional level.
In domiciliary care organisations, poor leadership resilience can result in increased costs, reduced efficiency and a lack of effectiveness, as well as causing widespread dissatisfaction among the team. This then leads to lower client satisfaction and, ultimately, a potentially poor CQC rating.
So how can you become the most resilient version of yourself as a leader? Here are our seven top tips:
#1. Look after yourself first
You must be able to lead yourself before you can lead your team successfully – just as flight attendants instruct you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others. The most successful leaders in domiciliary care invest in their own resilience, so they’re more focussed, efficient and productive. This approach then becomes a model for your team to follow.
Leaders who notice the signs of stress in their team are willing to reach out and engage in an honest discussion. Sometimes, simply asking them: “Is everything all right? It seems you may be under a lot of stress – is there anything I can do to help?” is helpful. Remember, communication is about talking and listening. This is also important for communicating effectively when you’re implementing new strategies in the business by helping your team to understand the reasons and new expectations.
#3. Be open to feedback
It can be tough to hear negative feedback from your team, but it’s important to really listen to what they’re telling you as it’s their perception of what’s happening. If you get defensive or refuse to listen, they’ll simply stop providing the feedback and become demoralised by a leader who doesn’t care what they think. They’ll talk between themselves in private, and the negative mood will spread. Encourage team feedback, genuinely listen to it and constructively act upon it.
#4. Learn how to inspire trust
Your business needs your whole team onboard. In order to achieve that, they need to trust you. A good leader focusses on working as a team. Accepting there will be differences – but being open to those differences – will foster a much stronger relationship as the leader.
#5. Show interest in others
Caring for your team is an often underestimated leadership trait. Many leaders fail because they’re disconnected, but a true leader has a social and moral responsibility to consider the resilience of their team members. You must become tuned into your team members and learn to recognise when they are under pressure.
#6. Champion change
Domiciliary care businesses operate in a changing environment. That means you’ll need to lead the way, constantly adapt and be open to continual improvement. Recognising that your front-line team may sometimes have better ideas and solutions – and championing those ideas – will enhance your leadership role. Encourage an environment where team members feel able to try new things and openly feedback the good, the bad and the ugly.
#7. Be decisive
Don’t overthink situations. Make clear decisions based on the facts you already have. Leaders who dither or delay in making big and even small decisions create confusion within their team, and within the wider business.
Building your own resilience as a leader is essential, but we must also remember that the end goal is to enjoy life. View the development of your own resilience as an investment, not a cost – by modelling resilience, you’ll pave the way for others in the business to follow suit and see much greater returns in the long term.