Female manager kindly speaking with a senior patient

13 Essential Leadership Skills in Long-Term Care Facilities

Effective leadership skills in long-term care facilities are critical now more than ever. The need for health services in these particular settings is only growing as the current population ages. High patient census combined with nurse staffing shortages, turnover, and burnout also demonstrate the need for competent leaders to support staff and care for patients well.

The skills and traits of leaders in long-term care facilities have a direct influence on the entire workplace. Studies confirm that leadership affects the following key areas in long-term care facilities.

  • Business management
  • Information flows
  • Health-related quality indicators
  • Long-term vision
  • Organizational structure
  • Organizational culture
  • Work environment
  • Quality of care

Effective leadership skills are necessary especially when leader roles affect the well-being of staff. This is because the well-being of staff impacts the quality of care patients and residents receive. 

This blog post discusses essential leadership skills in long-term care facilities aimed toward administrators, supervisors, managers, nursing directors, and other leadership roles.

What Skills Are Needed to Be a Successful Leader in Long-Term Care?

Leadership is multidimensional and consists of different styles and characteristics. A combination of leadership behaviors and skills are to be used when practicing. Good leaders know that appropriate leadership looks different based on specific situations and context on any given day. 

Leaders in long-term care oversee the needs of the facility including their staff and residents, all while adhering to regulations, conducting quality care, and facing everyday challenges in this industry.

Skills and Traits of Effective Leadership in Long-Term Care Facilities

What skills and traits are central to effective management and success in this industry? Listed are 13 leadership skills in long-term care facilities that are imperative.

1. Relational 

Relational leaders in long-term care are approachable to every person within the facility. They create opportunities for management level staff, healthcare workers, and patients or family members to interact and work together. When leaders make themselves available, they can better oversee, structure, and regulate the floor most effectively and continually mold it to operate at its best.

2. Respectful and Engaging

When healthcare workers and staff feel valued by their superiors, they’re motivated more. Engaging staff by initiating open communication to make each staff member feel seen and heard empowers them in their efforts. Respectful and engaging leaders involve staff, encourage them, and recognize their team’s needs and efforts on a company level and individual level.

3. Clear and Effective Communicator

Clear and effective communication by leaders ensures that everyone is on the same page. Being able to provide direction in a straightforward and understandable manner keeps expectations and goals aligned across all levels and departments. When leaders communicate well, everyday operations run smoothly.

4. Role Model

Leaders set the tone and establish how performance, action, behaviors, and daily work tasks should be pursued. By setting the standard, role models influence others to follow. For example, leadership qualities of empathy and integrity set an example in the way all coworkers, staff, residents, and visitors should be treated.

5. Problem Solver

Long-term care leaders create a climate where overcoming obstacles that arise on a daily basis are met with persistence in finding appropriate solutions. Being able to carry on in the face of challenges and adversity is a strength. Problem solving also often includes handling conflict resolution. For instance, good leaders can calmly discuss issues while managing emotions and negotiating mutually agreeable solutions. 

6. Upholds the Facility’s Vision and Goals

Leaders always have the facility’s goals and values in mind to take the most effective actions and make the smartest decisions for all. Leaders instill purpose in their healthcare workers, staff, and residents by committing to quality care and making a difference in each patient’s life.

7. Skilled in Building and Managing Relationships in the Workplace

Long-term care environments include working with people all day everyday. Successful leaders understand that their team consists of different personalities and strengths, and know how to manage and support staff on an individual and team level. 

8. A Desire to Make a Difference

Passionate leaders want to improve not only the facility, but the health system as a whole. They challenge and push their staff to become better versions of themselves. They experiment with new ideas and find ways to make everyday at the facility better. This could be starting new monthly goals to improve numbers or encouraging staff to find ways to make patients smile. 

9. Flexible

The pandemic showed that long-term care leaders have to be able to adapt in order to keep up with demands. The healthcare system is always changing and leaders are the forerunners to driving the long-term care industry into a direction that can stay relevant with new practices and technologies.

10. Task Oriented

Effective management of long term care facilities includes active leadership particularly in system organization, coordination, clarification of staff roles and responsibilities, and operational monitoring to ensure quality care.

11. Knowledgeable

Leaders have professional education and training in order to stay knowledgeable and informed regarding policies and practices in the long-term care industry. They bring their experience and proper training in the field to both teach and guide others.

12. Team Builder

Effective leaders foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration. They join everyone together and create a positive workplace culture that is people-centered. Leaders build teams by boosting morale and recognizing efforts and accomplishments of their staff. 

13. Listens to Others

Leaders in upper positions allow their staff to be heard. They have an open mind to welcome feedback, listen to concerns and suggestions, and encourage new ideas from others. 

These 13 skills and characteristics of leadership in long-term care positively affect every area within facilities. These essential leadership skills in long-term care result in greater nurse and staff retention, job satisfaction, better organizational commitment, productivity, positive health and well-being, stronger work culture, and quality patient care.

One of the biggest challenges for long-term care leaders is staffing shortages. The nurseIO platform connects local qualified nurses and healthcare professionals to open per diem shifts at healthcare facilities. Connect with nurseIO today and learn how nurseIO can support your facility’s staffing needs.

Share this post: