Reader poll: What non-textbook advice do you have for a new administrator?

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When I teach my students, the first thing I tell them is there's a tremendous difference between academia and what you experience as an administrator on the job. Number one is dealing with people, meaning the residents, their families and staff. From a leadership perspective, you need to learn to be good listeners. That is a skill that is not taught, but great leaders are great listeners. Number two is factors they have no control over. They have to learn to be adaptable and flexible.” — David Wolf, CNHA, CALA, CAS, FACHCA, Ph.D., Professor, Barry University, Delray Beach, FL

“Visit as many buildings in the industry as you can, and talk to practicing administrators about their philosophy of how they manage and provide services. If they have any opportunity to volunteer, have some kind of experience in the field that involves real resident care, they give you different perspectives on what makes a good building.” — Mary Helen McSweeney-Feld, FACHCA, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Towson University, Towson, MD 

“Find your motivating factor and sustain that. If you maintain your factor, then you'll keep pushing forward in the right direction.” — Jeffrey Lacroix, LNHA, Administrator, Rumford Community Home, Rumford, ME

“Seek out knowledge. Our industry changes so quickly; it is essential that an administrator keeps up with those changes.” —Theresa Sanderson, CNHA, FACHCA, Administrator, West Hartford Health & Rehabilitation Center, West Hartford, CT

“Every day is a survey day.  Since there is a tendency for individuals to ‘let things go,' one has to be detail-oriented and focused. Ask questions.  It will keep people on their toes. And you will learn some things.” — Stuart Almer, MBA, LNHA, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer, Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Commack, NY

“Learn how to understand the whole management process, and how to figure out who your key partners are within your organization. Have an administrator who is totally available to teach you everything they know.” — Everton Fider, MBA, Ph.D., Administrator in Training, Midway Nursing Home, Maspeth, NY

“This is not a job where you punch in and out at nine and five. Your heart has to be in the job all the way, and that's something that can't be taught. If you recognize early on that you aren't in it all the way, get out.” — Bill McGinley, CNHA, CALA, CAS, FACHCA, Executive Director, New Pond Village, Walpole, MA