Do you challenge yourself as a manager and a leader?

High performing leaders and role-models in aged care

In aged care, senior leaders are hidden from view and not accessible to our emerging professionals. Our young professionals find it difficult to identify or access high performing leaders and role-models in their networks.

We know that our leaders are busy managing projects, leading teams, and doing more with less. These professionals want the opportunity to improve their leadership and management skills but are they aware of the power of the networks around them?

A recent survey of our mentoring program shows 65% of emerging leaders were unable to identify a mentor in their network. Access to mentors is direly needed in the aged care sector, and healthcare industry, with the World Health Organisation reporting a shortage of 12.9 million health-care workers by 2035. This is due to staff retiring or leaving for better-paid jobs without being replaced, while inversely, not enough young people are entering the profession or being adequately trained.

Mentors have been vital in my own professional development. They have listened to my challenges, highlighted opportunities, and shared my successes. It’s only through practice and knowing that someone believes in you, that you begin to realise (and believe in) your own leadership potential.

By not sharing valued experiences and advice with our emerging leaders we are stagnating our sector's growth. Our emerging leaders have so much to offer; being managers, leading projects, even sitting on organisational boards. Without them realising their potential and gaining the support of our industry leaders, we will continue to have difficulty recruiting and retaining graduates and high potential young professionals into our organisations.

So what’s the solution? 

Listen to your network. Young professionals want your advice. It is likely they are unsure how to initiate a mentoring partnership with you. This can be as simple as a coffee conversation every month. Another way is to volunteer as a mentor. The Acorn Mentoring Program is an online program for aged and community care managers, to develop skills in mentoring and build management capacity.

Acorn Network is supporting emerging leaders and young managers in clinical and non-clinical roles. Giving them access to senior leaders and expanding their networks. We want to help current managers, and emerging leaders create the workplace cultures they desire, inspire their staff, and build networks outside of their current profession and organisations.

[Source: Samantha Bowen, Founder and Managing Director of Acorn Network and University of Melbourne Master of Ageing student,]