Promoting Mindful Leadership

Ms Margaret Aldous

Chief Executive/director Of Nursing, Cooinda, Benalla, VIC


There is no silver bullet of leadership to achieve outstanding staff satisfaction and excellent care outcomes in residential aged care. People can be unpredictable and the best intentions are of no benefit without action. Cooinda, in Benalla has been working on developing the right mix of tactics, having the heart for difficult conversations and trusting staff have been critical ingredients.
At Cooinda we have gone back to basics, practicing mindfulness leadership emphasising the pillars of self-awareness, authenticity, productivity and compassion. The importance of stopping before a meeting, with the opportunity for guided meditation, has allowed staff to understand management are working to support their wellbeing in caring for themselves and one another.
Mindful leadership has encouraged a broader sense of community, emphasising understanding of supporting staff from a place of caring, compassion and understanding as is expected of them when interacting with residents in their care.
Communication is emphasised. Cooinda’s senior management have developed guiding values by which they walk the talk every day.
The result of 90% staff satisfaction with 96% of staff proud to work at Cooinda and 89% resident satisfaction benchmarked against 120 aged care facilities across Australia and New Zealand has been achieved.


Margaret Aldous is the Chief Executive/Director of Nursing of Cooinda in Benalla.
Cooinda, a not for profit facility, offers a continuum of care from independent living, home and residential care.

Margaret completed her nursing training at the Alfred Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.
She has Bachelor of Nursing (post registration), Masters of Health Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Company Directors Course. Previously she completed the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Assessors Course.

Margaret has extensive experience in senior nurse management roles. These have included acute,
aged care, palliative care and quality. Prior to moving to Cooinda she was the Quality Manager at Benalla Health. She was responsible for the initial development of the Palliative Care Service in Benalla.

She has undertaken extensive education in Mindfulness and Mindfulness in leadership. She is a qualified meditation teacher.

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