Leadership in Aged Care During Times of Change

2 December 2015 By Sue, Melissa, Julie and Paul

It seems like a luxury to be taking ourselves away from the whirlwind back at the office and to be at Leadership Victoria.

After our first day at the Aged Care Leadership Program, we are beginning to appreciate that it is a productive and very healthy thing to do. After all, how often do we actually take time out of our working days to consider our own leadership styles and how we impact on others?

Day One saw us meet as a group of 15 participants… somewhat tentatively meeting each other. The majority of us coming from residential aged care and home care organisations, all of us from management and financial services positions, some from rural and regional areas, and all of us committed to provide the best quality services to aged people using our services.

It was clear that the aged care sector is undergoing tremendous change. As we heard from Leanne Connell from the Department of Health and Human Services, the implementation of My Aged Care has caused considerable angst in the sector. While the underpinnings of My Aged Care are understood and mostly welcomed, the challenge for us as leaders is how we make this paradigm shift work best for our ageing clients and their families.

Jacqui Cooper, five-time Olympic aerial skier, clearly demonstrated how commitment, dedication and sheer doggedness can help you achieve your goals. With the guidance of a mentor who was her stable force throughout her career, Jacqui maintained her focus on her goals set out for her when she was 16 years of age and remained in place until she retired at 37 years. During this time she was resourceful, she was able to manoeuvre around barriers and overcome setbacks and injuries. Her focus on her overall plan enabled her to reach her achievements and be one of the world’s best athletes.

While the ski fields are a long way from our working contexts, Jacqui’s insightful and inspirational presentation gave us all time to reflect on the challenges we face in our workplaces and how we might tackle them. The implementation of My Aged Care and associated reforms seemed quite insignificant in comparison to the challenges Jacqui faced in her sporting career.

As leaders in our respective aged care organisations, we were reminded that we cannot be the perfect leader with all the desired skills required for the job at hand. So, today, it was suggested that we need to reflect on our impact on others, seek feedback, and source the necessary resources and skills when needed. But perhaps, the greatest attribute for us as leaders is best captured by a quote from one of today’s presentations:

“Patience is a very important commodity during a time of change”.


By Sue, Melissa, Julie and Paul - participants in the 2015/16 Aged Care Leadership Intensive.