Leaders in the home care industry share 7 proven leadership principles they swear by that will help you enhance your agency’s influence and stand out as a leader.
After interviewing hundreds of home care professionals and agencies each day—we have a solid idea of what makes someone an industry leader.
In honor of National Home Care and Hospice Month, we have collected an exclusive list of 7 leadership principles that will give your agency a competitive edge and help you personally stand out as a leader in your profession.
Fellow home care experts reveal how you can improve your agency’s current leadership strategy and become a leader people compete to follow:
Focus on what is already going well.
Give yourself time to react before responding.
Ensure the right people are sitting in the right seats.
There is something to learn something from everyone.
Prioritize quality assurance, then let your third party endorsement do the talking.
Put what is important in front of what is urgent.
You deserve to belong in a positive work culture too.
Principle #1: Focus on what is already going well.
It is easy to focus on all the tasks that need to get done in the day, but celebrating what is currently going right for your agency will push your employees to help build an even more successful future. The most influential leaders are going out of their way to make their team feel like priceless assets instead of replaceable commodities.
Lonnie Mayne at Red Shoes Living explained that the employee experience ultimately lies on the shoulders of its leaders:
“As a leader… make sure [you’re] really connecting, paying attention, checking in, supporting and becoming the best advocate you can possibly be for those that are working for you by recognizing your employees for the contributions that they’re making. People want to be and need to be seen, like never before. Your employees want to be seen as contributing to the workplace and for the beautiful human beings that they are.”
Here are a few ways to begin focusing on what is already going well to boost employee morale and strengthen your character as a leader:
Never underestimate the value of a well-timed thank you card
Establish an employee of the month program
Offer incentives like pay raises, bonuses, or gift cards
Take your employees out to lunch and get to know them
Solve their most common caregiver deal-breakers
Become care of your caregivers by making it a goal to celebrate what is already going well within your agency.
Principle #2: Give yourself time to react before responding.
People turn to their leader in times of crisis, and as a home care agency owner, you may be tempted to try to fix problems right away. However, in an episode of our podcast, Gary Vogel, Owner of Bayside Home Care and CEO of The Senior’s Choice, suggested fighting the instinct to prematurely respond will give yourself time to privately react and avoid causing further public damage:
“Make sure that you don’t react as an employer until you get all the facts. If you throw out an opinion about a situation that you just became aware of and that information turns out to be incorrect, then you lose your credibility. I think it’s really important to just step back, count to 10, look at the whole picture, make sure we get all the facts, and then we can decide how to proceed from there before managing the situation.”
Tips for leading your team through a high-pressure situation:
Preparing your staff to handle potential crises and collaborating to solve issues as a team will lay the foundation for your employees to trust you as a reliable leader.
Principle #3: Ensure the right people are sitting in the right seats.
Oftentimes, the best person for the job you’re trying to fill is already a current employee—just in the wrong position. Successful leaders regularly take a look at their staff’s performance and optimize each employee’s job description based on their strengths.
In a recent episode of our podcast, the CEO of Audit Care Assistance, Krystal Wilkinson, suggested holding quarterly meetings to reassess whether the skillsets of your current staff are still being best utilized in their current positions. This gives your employees a chance to voice how they feel about the progress they are making and set new goals to improve.
According to the Entrepreneurial Operating System business model, one way to ensure the right people are in the right seats is to measure how each employee is meeting your agency’s core values and objectives.
Consider meeting with each department within your agency to specifically discuss how everyone’s needs are being met. Capitalize on the potential of strong team members by encouraging them to step into leadership roles themselves.
Principle #4: There is something to learn from everyone.
Wave goodbye to strict organizational charts, and say hello to transformational leadership.
Transformational leaders are highly sought-after in the industry because they provide their team with open communication, inspiration, enthusiasm, support positive change, and empower others through shared decision-making, according to The American Nurses Association.
In a recent episode of our podcast, the CEO of Senior Solutions Home Care and Founder of the Independent Home Care Alliance, Kunu Kaushal, shares how he flattens the organizational chart to help his staff and clients feel genuinely valued:
“It’s amazing how many of the same faces I see at conferences, and I think that is such a disservice. I’m always impressed when an agency brings their lead scheduler, office staff member or a different person in their organization to those conferences to be exposed to that level of learning and networking. It’s a reward system for them and it makes them feel like you value them in my opinion.
… Nobody should be too good to do the work we expect our caregivers to do. I myself have gone out and done caregiving for all 11 years in which we’ve been in business. Is it something that is the best use of company time? No, this is something that I go do every day? Absolutely not. Am I good at giving bed bath? Most people say, no, don’t do that again. But being willing to go into a home and engage with a client or family, making sure someone is doing okay or showing face is a big difference between saying, I don’t have anybody for you today, versus I’m willing to drive out there and make sure you get a sandwich.”
A 2019 study done by the Centre for Resilience in Healthcare, proves that organizations who embrace transformational leadership practices in their management styles are reaping the rewards of a safer work culture and increased employee engagement.
Position yourself as a trusted mentor by building up other aspiring leaders within your company. Scheduling a time to personally visit with a client or bringing a member of your staff to a networking activity will enhance your influence as a leader.
Principle #5: Prioritize quality assurance, then let your third party endorsement do the talking.
When it comes to showcasing how your company compares to other agencies, showing the data-driven results will always get you further than simply talking about what you do. Third party endorsement offers proof of quality to increase your agency’s credibility and help you stand out as a leader in the industry.
But don’t just take our word for it.
Mitch Williams, Founder and Owner of Home Helpers, has won the Leader in Excellence Award six years in a row in the state of California. He provided insight on how he uses Home Care Pulse to attract more referrals in an episode of our podcast:
“Referral sources tend to be tired of hearing the same story over and over and over again from every agency … when you can provide them with third party feedback, particularly in our case that now goes back six, seven, eight years—the data doesn’t lie.
“Anytime we get the question, ‘What makes you different?’ from a prospective client or, ‘You’re just like everybody else,’ from a referral source, I’m like, ‘No, we’re not, and here’s why: here’s what our clients and our caregivers have to say about us and have a look at this proof of quality report from last month.’”
Turns out, you actually can control what people say about you! By implementing third party tools that quantify the quality of your services, you equip yourself with physical proof to show, not tell, exactly how you measure up to other agencies.
Principle #6: Put what is important in front of what is urgent.
It can be overwhelming to tackle every single process a home care agency owner oversees, all while trying to manage complaints and be an influential leader your employees can look up to. Juggling all the responsibilities of a business owner in the home care industry may have you overwhelmed with dozens of urgent tasks and not enough time to prioritize which are most important.
In a recent episode of our podcast, Patty Burgess, Co-Founder of LifePath Learners suggested optimizing your to do list by taking a look at the bigger picture and breaking it down:
“Try to put what’s important in front of what’s urgent. For example, if you’re doing in-person training: Is there a way you can automate any repetitive parts of the training and create an online experience so that it frees you up to do more supporting, mentoring, and helping grow a thriving company? Then the money saving [and time saving] already starts to happen … because there are less broken things to fix and more streamlined processes.”
Start reorganizing your to-do list by prioritizing training. This puts you on top of the number one complaint caregivers are voicing and ensures you stand above the rest by tackling what employees view as the most pressing issue.
Principle #7: You deserve to belong in a positive work culture too.
As the infamous saying goes: be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.
In the caring business, it can be easy to overlook your own needs as most of your time is spent ensuring your clients and caregivers have an optimal experience. However, giving yourself the space to take care of yourself first will increase your ability to better care for your clients and staff.
In a recent episode of our podcast, we talked with Patty Burgess and Sheila Schultz, Co-Founders of LifePath Learners, to learn how to incorporate self-care into your work culture. Here are a few self-care tips they shared to help you better take care of yourself at work:
Reserve 15 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time every morning to be present in the moment and get in the right frame of mind
Consciously take 30 seconds to sit and breathe deeply four to five times a day.
Be transparent. Share some of your own vulnerabilities to let people know you’re human too.
Caregiving is a fulfilling field, but it also requires dealing with heavy circumstances and serious situations daily.
Center your culture on providing everyone with enough space to take care of themselves a little better. Your example of investing in self-care will create a better environment for you and others to truly make a difference in the lives of those around you.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Ultimately, the most successful leader is the one who strives to bring out the best in people, magnifies the potential of others, and builds future leaders. As a home care agency owner, you have the power to make decisions that will improve the quality of both your clients’ and caregivers’ lives.
We at Home Care Pulse appreciate the work you put into improving the quality of life for others, and are here to help you succeed as an agency owner. Learn how you can qualify for the Best of Home Care Awards and begin shaping the home care industry, one leader at a time.