Bob talks with Brad Wachter about the challenges leaders face in the senior living industry. As the population ages and many os us look for the next place for our parents, Brad's perspective on the complexities of good leadership show us just how difficult this can be.
Brad brings his HR experience to the industry. It is here that leadership issues are often centered within a corporation. He was inspired by a college professor that did work with the FBI. He also remembers another professor that showed him the importance of HR topics and how they applied in the real world.
The two guys compare transcripts in their early academic careers. The comparison shows both starting poorly and finished strong.
As Brad talks about the senior living industry grows as the population ages. Brad was attracted by the fact that it is really a combination of three industries: health care, hospitality, and real estate. Another wrinkle Brad mentions that in senior living you are working where you customer is living. As an example, if you are a chef there, serving a bad meal results in more than a customer who would never return.
Bob suggests that working in the industry requires a special type of person. Brad agrees, saying that they need to have a certain compassion for those that they are serving. This is often an attraction to those that come to the industry. He has heard it called the “second paycheck”, the first being the salary you earn and the second being the good feeling you generate in your work.
Brad started Senior Living Recruiters in 2008 but faced the severe economic downturn of the time. The industry was somewhat insulated from this and enabled him to create the successes there. The three overlapping industries may suggest that there would be a very narrow candidate pool for senior leaders, but prime candidates are those with previous senior living experience.
As for leadership traits, Brad says that empathy, servant leadership, and emotional intelligence are critical skills for folks in the business.