On this episode, we speak to Claudia Blumenstock, Founder and CEO at Copernicus, Inc., an organization that is dedicated to strengthening the delivery of long-term care services through the development of staff relationships at all levels of an organization.

Topics discussed include:

– How staff looks at leadership and what leaders need to be like to be effective.

– How a horrible event made Claudia self-aware and showed her that openness is critical in LTC.

– How being supportive of people who have had horrible experiences in their facility helps them forgive themselves if they feel responsible.

– Learning to step back and listen from an incident with her teenage son.

– The importance of quieting yourself for five minutes to be an effective leader.

– The real problem people have with implementing new ideas.

– The importance of taking care of yourself to be an effective leader.

– The difficulty of teaching leaders to think creatively in an LTC setting.

Rapid fire Q/A

How do you approach leadership?

Staff is really looking for engaged leaders who’re positive, flexible and interested, people who want to know who staff really are. That starts with being self-aware as a leader.

How important is open support to others in this business?

I feel that people need affirmation, and if they’ve been through a rough incident, they need people to listen to their stories and support them. I always try to do that so they can accept what happened and move forward.

What is the oddest place or event that taught you a leadership lesson?

When I owned another company with my two children, one of them was appearing on a show called “Biz Kids.” I was standing there with him and coaching him on what to say, and he turned and said “Mom, I’ve got this.” That’s when I realized I really need to be quiet and listen.

What is your biggest Achilles’ heel when it comes to leadership?

My Achilles’ heel is that I don’t give enough to myself. Everybody else comes first. As caregivers, we struggle to say, “I count just as much as others.” But if you don’t take care of yourself, there’s nothing left.

What is your biggest challenge professionally these days?

What I struggle with the most is teaching people the “how” of being engaged as leaders. Sometimes it’s easier to stay inside the box, and it can be difficult to teach people how to get outside their comfort zone.

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