Last month (“Leaders, how stable are you? Really?”), I posed a question related to the word “stability.” I was really impressed with the responses and thought you would appreciate the variety of thoughts. 

Who would have thought the word “stability” could mean so many things to different leaders? 

One of my takeaways from this exercise is that there is no cookie-cutter approach to leadership. It is deeply personal; what one person takes from a word can be similar, but still has its own unique footprint. I hope you enjoy reading these responses as much as I did. 

Here are some of the results from reader feedback to the question I posed: What are some ways you are offering stability in your leadership journey?

— “The strength to stand or endure. That’s stability in my mind. I strive to create stability with my team and leaders by being consistent and available. In order to maintain that stability, I practice being present, active listening, empathy and knowing when to be silent. I want others to know they can come to me with anything at any time. I believe it is also important to take time for yourself to re-energize and put your best foot forward. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be, but my goal is to provide trust, compassion, stability and hope each and every day to team members, residents and families.”

— “I think to provide stability for one’s team, it is best to lead by example and be consistent. Whether it’s sports, education or your workplace, the formula for success is the same, ‘put in the effort.’ If I don’t put in the effort, how could I expect my team members to? Consistently saying thank you, that was a good idea, or asking for an opinion is also something I personally practice.”

— “I try to provide stability by having open communication and having an open door, ear, and mind to actively listen to concerns and questions along the way. I hope I provide stability by meeting in groups and then following up one on one. I hope I provide stability by sending the extra email or text to let them know I understand their fears and feelings of unease around change. I hope I provide stability by letting them know I’m an imperfect leader too.”

— “I challenge myself to bring my best each day and provide a consistent, approachable demeanor despite what all may be going on for me personally outside of work and to take the time and energy to actively listen to others. To provide additional stability, I’ve learned the importance of being vulnerable with team members, which has provided a sense of relatability and connection in my relationships with others.”

— “I strive to show stability by consistently being here and available, but also sharing with others when I will be away from the office. But something I have really tried to model and be mindful of is stability by being present when talking to someone by putting the phone down, closing out computer screens if I’m at my desk, shutting the door, whatever it takes for me to be completely present in that moment with that person.  Giving someone your undistracted time is difficult in our immediate communication world, but I definitely feel it shows stability (and respect) when it can be done consistently.”

— “I believe being present, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally, is a key to stability.  When you are present in the moment, you can make real, genuine connections which builds trust, which leads to stability.”

— “I hope I offer stability through my presence and accessibility.”

— “Modeling a positive attitude!”

— “Clear direction helps provide stability. When staff members know their job duties and what is expected of them, they come to work each day with their mind set.  I know that some days we need to ask them to change their course, but if they know their basic job functions, this should not be a problem.”

— “I feel leading by example. Employees watch everything their leader does.” 

— “Stability in the workplace provides employees with a sense of confidence, security and optimism during times of disruptive changes. To help create stability for employees to succeed, they need the tools, technology and resources for their job. Trust is built by honest communication, which is built when you share a plan of action, check in often and lead with optimism.”

— “The well-being of the residents and families we serve and the team members we lead is paramount! In consistently caring for others, we develop a natural propensity toward empathy and compassion. When people know we care, that helps build better relationships and creates a sense of deeper trust and greater stability!”

— “For me, stability is all about being able to depend on a leader to respond in a consistent manner that won’t overturn the turnip truck, so to speak. Knowing that you’ll offer/receive a timely, measured, fair, and thoughtful response provides stability — even if it’s not the response you’re hoping for.”

I attempted to edit down the responses, but they were too good. What a lesson in stability and such individual, personal responses. There are definitely many themes here. It’s all a great reminder of how very important stability is!

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Julie Thorson was the 2018 recipient of the LeadingAge Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor of the Year award. She currently co-facilitates LeadingAge Iowa’s Leadership Academy. She is a Leading Age Academy fellow and former coach. The Head Coach (president and CEO) of Friendship Haven, a life plan community in Fort Dodge, IA, Thorson is a coach’s daughter at heart. A former part-time nursing home social worker, she is a licensed nursing home administrator and completed LeadingAge’s Leadership Educator Program in 2019.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

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