Change can feel challenging – particularly in the workplace if you are taking on new skills or stepping up into a leadership role.

The move from carer to team leader or even frontline manager can potentially be an uncomfortable transition, particularly if the skills you have always relied on don’t translate to your new responsibilities.

The key to success is to set new leaders up with a clear roadmap to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to smooth the road ahead. Without it, it can inadvertently have a negative impact on the new leader’s teams, with flow-on effects of both diminished levels of care, and increased staff turnover.

Research (Travaglia et al., 2021) into the leadership capabilities of aged care professionals identified common gaps in the following areas:

  • conflict management
  • self-care
  • performance management
  • sharing responsibility
  • communication
  • coping with stress, and
  • change management.

Results further showed that change management, conflict management and communication issues had the most significant negative correlations with organisational performance and care. Essentially, the worse leaders performed on these specific measures, the lower the overall performance and level of care outcomes were for the entire organisation.

Conversely, the more developed leaders were in these skills and capabilities the higher the staff satisfaction and the better the workplace environment was – factors that directly reduce staff turn-over.

Research (Banks, Lacey & Grambower, 2017) has also found that of the 1,000 Australian workers surveyed, most would prefer dedicated training opportunities rather than free lunches when it came to work perks. Similarly, most respondents wanted a learning culture rather than a perceived fun culture.

What do leaders need to do?

Leaders should focus on creating a positive work environment, as opposed to one focused on compliance with laws and regulations.

A 2019 report (Naidu, 2019) found that for organisational change to take place within the aged care sector to a ‘consumer-centred care’ model, a positive working environment was required that fostered strong employee social relationships, was inspirational and felt supportive.

In order to create this, leaders must be comfortable and confident in their ability to communicate effectively, manage conflict and model strong self-care and stress coping mechanisms.

What do leaders need to have?

Echoing the above, a 2021 report (Dawes & Topp, 2021), found senior managers of high-performing private residential aged care facilities, felt communication and relationship management skills were the most important leadership attributes for ensuring service quality within the aged care sector.

So, how do we get there?

It is important to offer opportunities for leaders to reflect on their strengths and areas needing further attention.

The Human Services Skills Organisation has partnered with Data Drives Insight to provide 1000 subsidised Care Industry Leadership Capability Assessments (CILCA360) – a leadership tool that has been developed to align with the Aged Care Leadership Capability Framework and incorporates aspects of both the Aged Care Quality Standards and The National Disability Practice Standards.

Undertaking a Leadership Assessment tool may sound intimidating to those not accustomed to focusing on leadership skills as a necessary part of the job. However, tools like the Care Industry Leadership Capability Assessment have long been embraced by corporate Australia to provide powerful insights and up-level individuals and teams.

Be the change you want to see in your organisation and arm your leaders with the knowledge and skills to create a positive workplace where staff want to remain and care recipients receive the quality care they deserve.

Reserve your spot here


Banks, T., Lacey, S., & Grambower, J. (2017). Employees prefer information more than free food. International Journal of Workplace Health Management. 10. 00-00. 10.1108/IJWHM-02-2017-0013.

Dawes, N.G. and Topp, S.M., 2021. Leadership Skills And Quality Health Care For Older Australians.

Travaglia, J., Harrison, R., Burnham, S., Brown, J., & Robertson, H. (2021). Addressing capability gaps. Australian Ageing Agenda, 32–33.

Naidu, M., 2019. Leadership and Management Strategies That Promote the Implementation of Consumer-Centred Care in Residential Aged Care Facility. Journal of Biosciences and Medicines, 7(06), p.73.