Freedom for Creative Solutions

I don’t know if I’ll ever leave Atria because I love it so much.
Steven Adams, the Maintenance Director at Atria Hearthstone East in Topeka, Kansas

Steven has a love for fixing things. “It’s all about solving problems and making things more efficient.” And the people he gets to solve problems for make his role even more special. “I tell people all the time that I have 87 grandmas. I have my regular maintenance duties, but there’s also this component of doing the little things you would do for your grandma like filling the bird feeder or building a trellis for a tomato plant. It takes 10 minutes out of our day, but it makes their day.”

If you chat with Steven about why he loves his job, he’ll quickly point out the value of teamwork. He’ll share how everyone on his team is quick to jump in and help each other out. It’s a trait he says starts with community leadership. He shared how Thad Studebaker, the Executive Director at Atria Hearthstone East is quick to jump in and help – not taking over but being one of the crew.

“He has this perfect balance between providing directions and expectations and also giving you the freedom to come up with creative solutions – he creates an environment that encourages and celebrates it,” explained Steven.

Team Building in the Workplace

So, what is it about Thad’s leadership that sets his directors up for success? Here’s what he says are pillars of his leadership style:

  • Provide Clear Expectations. He works with his directors to help them understand the scope of their work and what’s expected of them.
  • Give Ownership. He views each department as its own business, where he gives directors the freedom to come up with creative solutions.
  • Follow Up with Praise. He likes to send “thank you” texts to his team and schedules regular lunch outings with is directors to show his appreciation.
  • Have Fun. He’s known for sharing movie quotes and looks for ways to create fun in the workplace.

“Yes, the stressful days are going to happen, but I want my team members to have a fun experience. I want this to be like no other job they’ve had. I want them to want to come to work.”

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