Is Your RAL Leadership Contagious?

Is Your Residential Assisted Living Leadership Contagious?

Are you aware of the contagious effects that residential assisted living homes can have on your staff?

Everything that is contagious does not cause bad health – happiness is contagious. In fact, research repeatedly shows that if you have a friend that is happy, the probability of your happiness rises by 25 percent. Likewise, behaviors are contagious.

According to Christakis and Fowler, if you have overweight friends, you’re more likely to be overweight yourself. If you quit smoking, your friends are more likely to quit also. Rose McDermott of Brown University found that divorce is contagious. She concluded that if you have a close friend that experiences a divorce, you are 33 percent more likely to separate from your spouse.

With no uncertainty, social interactions have an effect on leadership. Specifically, after testing 51 different behaviors, research showed a significant correlation in over 30 of them. Behaviors with the highest correlations were between managers and their core clusters. Some important leadership traits found to be contagiously included:

Quality Contagious Leadership Traits

  • Developing self and others
  • Technical skills
  • Strategy skills
  • Consideration and cooperation
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Global perspective
  • Decisiveness
  • Results focus


Residential Assisted Living owners and operators should monitor management to ensure the success of their assisted living homes because leadership is contagious. Good leadership creates engaged employees and influence positive outcomes, but bad leaders do the opposite – both leaderships styles are contagious. As a result of this contagious effect, it spreads socially and forms of culture. The ultimate goal is to create a culture of best practices. Things like personnel turnover rates, Residential Assisted Living home revenue, staff productivity, and so on, are affected by good leadership.

Do good leaders really make others around them want to lead with excellence? If so, how are these behaviors recreated and intentionally captured? In a report that examined the assessments of high-level and mid-level managers, a direct correlation of a variety of behaviors was noted. These similarities included performance, attitude, work ethics, integrity and more. The hypothesis supports the idea that leadership behavior is contagious. Good high-level leaders inspire better leadership behaviors amongst their mid-level management. Poor performing high-level leaders have an adverse effect.


Think about the occasional things you do poorly or the bad habits you can’t seem to break. Considering this research about socially contagious behaviors, you can increase the potential to change your Residential Assisted Living home leadership. The fact that leadership is contagious is a significant motivation for immediate change. How do you transform bad leadership into good leadership? It is possible.

For example, your peers, your caregivers, your spouse, and your children have a high probability of practicing the examples you set. With the right professional development and guidance, you can protect your team from bad habits and poor choices. You can change, and so can your leadership team.


If you have poorly performing caregivers, it is likely that someone in your leadership chain may be infecting others. When you are able to identify the problem that is good news. Afterward, you can help sharpen their skills through professional development. Unfortunately, if they are not willing to improve, remove from your organization. Awareness is half the battle.

Job performance is critical in the field of assisted living. With such high turnover, an investment in Residential Assisted Living leadership development is worthwhile. It can drive positive performance throughout your entire Residential Assisted Living home operation. Ultimately, strong leadership is reflected in the care and service that your residents receive. Professional development and positivity have a trickle-down effect that diminishes the contagious results of bad and negative leadership.


Residential Assisted Living National Association is an infectious membership-based organization. It is the largest Residential Assisted Living organization providing resources and support to the residential assisted living industry. The good news is that RALNA is helping to transform Residential Assisted Living leadership into high-performing management teams that produce expected results.  You really do make a difference.

In addition, the membership grants you access to group purchasing power, discounts with over 200 Residential Assisted Living vendors, legal advocacy, industry marketing, educational services, memory care training, certifications, marketing, and relevant newsletters. Visit for additional information. Be the first to learn need-to-know information about hot topics and trending data, such as “Is your Residential Assisted Living leadership contagious.”

All behaviors are learned patterns that we source from life experiences – the workplace is no different. How contagious is your Residential Assisted Living leadership, and is it working for you or against you?

If you found the information on this article valuable, you’ll find enormous benefits by becoming a member of our community. Visit this page to become a RALNA Member.