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Leadership Tip

In response to last month’s post about the similarities between good leadership and morel mushroom hunting (yes, it’s kooky but relevant!), we gathered more tips from leaders in aging services. Here are ten more golden nuggets about leadership, plus two more secret tips about morel mushrooms:


1. Walk your talk, or people balk! Your colleagues are watching and evaluating what you do and don’t say, your verbal and non-verbal cues (body language), and your choices 100% of the time.  Make sure your words and actions are completely in sync.

2. Good leaders know their strengths and admit their weaknesses without fear. They surround themselves with people that excel where they are weak.

3. Go for small wins. Ask your staff to identify small wins – things that are cost effective and easy to fix. Celebrate and recognize your team for accomplishing those small tasks. Your staff will feel empowered. They’ll see that you follow through, and those small wins will build momentum and trust.

4. If you have high turnover and/or low morale in your organization, check yourself first. Are you abusing or overusing your own power? Not properly training your staff? Blaming others before taking responsibility?

5. Own who you are. Be your authentic self. People can smell a faker from miles away.

6. Transparency is vital. The more you openly communicate with your team, the stronger the bond of trust.

7. Praise in public.  Criticize in private. Related to criticism, recently, a team of psychologists was able to make feedback 40% more effective by prefacing it with just 19 words: “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.” As an added bonus, here’s a great article about why the “Feedback Sandwich” doesn’t work and what to do about it.

8. Throw away the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality. Avoid asking staff to perform tasks you are not willing to perform yourself.

9. Host meaningful meetings. If meetings aren’t productive, team members may blame you.

10. Practice the 5 F’s:

* Be First. Set the pace, standard, and mood.

* Be Fair. Don’t play favorites. Give credit, take the heat, and empathize.

* Be Firm. State the facts, explain the impact, reach an agreement, explore for a solution, and explain the consequences.

* Be Flexible. Assume the best. Make room for good ideas. Admit when you are wrong.

* Have Fun! When others see you can unplug and let loose, it opens the door for real relationship development.

Thank you to these brilliant ladies for their input:


As your reward for reading all the way to the bottom of this post, here are two more super duper secret tips about morels:

  • In the first 2-3 weeks of May, I found 15+ pounds of morels inside the city limits of Ann Arbor (nope, I’m not joking.) Morels love, love, love recently dead elm trees with peeling bark. With the right soil, morels will grow under dead elms anywhere – near parking lots, along creek ditches and roads, in city parks, and in your own backyard.


  • Morels grow in soil that is 55 to 62 degrees. This means they show up in sunnier spots first because the soil is warmer. Check hill tops early, and valleys or shadier spots later.


If you are looking for more tips & ideas about leadership, reinvigorating your therapy program, or finding those elusive morels, feel free to shoot me an email.