Mentoring Series: Part 3 - Senior Living Leadership Must-Haves


In this final segment of this “3-Part Mentoring Blog Series,” we will discuss some concrete examples of things that a senior living leader must have to mentor and grow talent, within their organization, while continuing to be viable and move their operation forward.

As we highlighted in previous segments, working in senior living is not your typical “9 AM to 5 PM” environment. Senior living leaders are people taking care of people who care for others.

1. Know Your Two Customers

As an enlightened leader, you must recognize that there are two distinct customers in your field of vision, in this industry, who have an effect on your leadership success.

First are staff. That’s right, staff! A leader must first and foremost be aware of the talent that lies within their facility, community, or organization. Without these folks caring for the other “customer”—the residents— the organization will flounder and cease to exist. An effective leader recognizes and encourages exemplary staff. Staff must, of course, have the power and understanding of how to carefully care for the residents. Giving staff the ability to create outstanding customer service moments will help your residents have greater satisfaction and will support your organization. This then creates a win-win for everyone and encourages staff to be an active member of the team.

2. Be an Effective Communicator

As a leader, you must also be an effective communicator. This does not only mean getting your point across to others, but it also means earnestly listening to those who are within your leadership. Most often, the person closest to the situation is the individual who has the answers to unravel a problem. Afford those at the earliest stages of their career to have a voice to implement change and acknowledge those who have a better and more effective solution.

3. Be Accountable and Responsible

Be accountable and responsible to your organization and most importantly to those on your team. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes along the way to growth and improvement. If you make a mistake—admit it, own it, and correct it with the help of your team. Likewise, if someone on your team makes a mistake—take the time to review it, encourage them to own it, talk with them, and create a supportive environment where they learn how the issue has affected the organization.

4. Create Lasting Relationships With Your Team

Create lasting relationships with those who have joined and grown on your team. Just as you, as a leader, have developed relationships with those who mentored you, do the same for someone who you are mentoring, teaching, and growing to become a leader in your organization. These relationships will last well beyond your current connection to that individual, and they will continue to view you as their mentor.

5. Promote Team Building and Teamwork

Promote team building and teamwork amongst your team members. When adding to your team make teamwork an important topic of discussion. Each member of your team has valuable contributions to add. However, as a leader, if your vision of teamwork and building a team is not clear, then members of the team will eventually begin to pull the team apart, leading to dysfunction and eventually possibly desertion. Additionally, tolerance of negative or destructive behavior from a team member can almost guarantee the process of other members of the team looking to leave the organization.

6. Be Agile

Lastly, you must be agile to be a successful leader. If the senior living industry has learned anything over the past 2 years, it’s that agility is a major part of how we operate. Being agile means knowing that changes and uncertainty are a part of business operations. How a leader reacts to these pitfalls with emotional and social intelligence will define their individual leadership skills.

Join LW Consulting, Inc (LWCI) on October 20, 2021 at 2 PM for our “Mentoring and Developing Leaders in Senior Living” roundtable discussion on leadership in senior living. The roundtable discussion will include three panelists who are long-standing leaders in the industry and will include discussions on how they have developed their own skills and others on their teams throughout their tenure.


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  • Patel, D. (2017, March 22). Retrieved from 11 Powerful Traits of Successful Leaders:


Topics: Leadership & Staffing