How Participative Leadership Can Assist in Getting Buy-in for Greening Your Retirement Village

Nick Higgins |   September 5, 2016 at 12:32 PM

No matter their age, retirees like to be consulted about change. Use participative leadership to do so.

So, you’re convinced that it’s a good idea to start introducing environmentally sustainable practices at your retirement village but how do you go about convincing trustees, stakeholders, residents and employees that this isn’t just a hair brained scheme of yours?

Step one would be to provide staff, residents and other key decision-makers with some facts and figures about the cost and health benefits of ‘going green’ – to show them that you’ve done your homework and can objectively prove that it’s a good idea. The next step would be to invite everyone involved to contribute their ideas, suggestions and concerns about greening the village to give them chance to begin to own and adopt the concept as their own. This approach is called participative leadership.

Most people are change resistant, so it’s important to choose the right approach when convincing them of why it’s necessary

When it comes to management, there’s a sliding scale of how participative your leadership approach might be. On the one hand, you could be a highly-participative leader, who fully delegates your decision-making roles and responsibilities to your team.

A more balanced approach, however, would be to invite your team members to participate in decision-making, while making it clear that the ultimate decision lies with you or someone higher up on the management ladder. Right on the other end of the spectrum, we find the autocratic leader, who rarely allows anyone else a chance to contribute to any decisions being made – and who couldn’t care less about what anyone thinks about it either. The benefits of steering clear of this approach are fairly obvious.

It may be a good idea to position yourself somewhere in the middle of this participative leadership scale when introducing change into a retirement village

As one Productivity Hacks blog points out, participative leadership is a great approach to use with people, as it increases their motivation, morale and productivity. When employees feel that they have a significant contribution to make towards the management decisions being made, and are invited to share their ideas and suggestions, they’ll likely be more willing to accept and implement any final changes. This is because participative leadership invites those you lead to own a vision for change, rather than have it imposed on them from the top. An added perk is that, as a sense of ownership grows and strengthens, so does a team’s collective efforts and output.

While this approach to leading change may take a much longer time before producing results, it’s ideal for working with vulnerable populations, such as retirees in a retirement village

Brace yourself, what this translates into is plenty of meetings. Meet with trustees and stakeholders, pitch your idea and invite their input. What are their concerns? Meet with the managers and employees in your charge and do the same. Meet with elderly residents early on and brainstorm ways of greening their village. Motivate them with a positive vision. What do they think about introducing a recycling project or a vegetable garden? Why might this be a good idea? What ideas might they have for helping green their facility?  

Implementing environmentally sustainable practices also involves onboarding contractors who ‘work green’

Once you’ve convinced everybody and have enrolled them in your plans, you’ll have to start looking around for service providers who can help you implement the necessary changes to officially ‘green’ your village.

Download our guide on future-proofing your retirement village  to find out about Higgins Coatings’ eco-friendly painting, maintenance and building services.

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