In this episode of the ‘Making It Count’ podcast, we sit down with Sophie Bretag who is a heart centred leader and works in Aged Care as a People and Culture Manager. ‘Often the elderly are not featured as much as they need to be’ says Sophie. ‘We have 80 residents and it is so amazing to be able to have that time with people who have lived extraordinary lives.’
Sophie’s role is to manage 150 staff who care for the residents. She is first and foremost a heart centred leader with kindness at the core. To make this work Sophie says, ‘You need to be able to set clear boundaries, be direct, give space for open communication and connection.’ It comes down to empowering her staff to do what they need to do and, giving them the tools and information to do so successfully.
‘Respect is hard to gain but easy to lose’ says Sophie ‘I don’t expect anything of my team that I don’t expect of myself – It’s about walking the talk.’ As a leader, you are being watched every second of the day. ‘If you want to be respected, then act in a respectful way. Be what you want to see.’
Since Covid lockdowns, business and personal worlds have collided. Workplace wellbeing and psychological safety have always been a non-negotiable for Sophie. She openly discusses her anxiety and the realisation that her staff may also feel this way. ‘Workplace wellbeing makes sense – If you take care of the humans as humans within the workplace then it is a win win.’ Staff need to feel safe to approach everyone, from the CEO down to the floor manager. ‘It’s our responsibility, as leaders, to make sure it is happening and to trust your team’ says Sophie. ‘The key is one on one conversations. Not to check in on a task, but to ask them what they need from me.’
In 2020, Sophie was a finalist for the Leadership HQ National Women in Leadership Award which celebrated kind, courageous and inclusive female leaders. ‘I have so much respect for women who are thriving, leading, being brave and are unapologetically themselves. To be in that category was overwhelming’ says Sophie, ‘But, the best thing was being able to talk about aged-care.’
So, sit back and enjoy this episode as Sophie Bretag shares how a leader Makes It Count.
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