Personal Leadership Strengths
Nurse leaders are responsible for leading and managing individuals in their work area, requiring a strong relationship building skill in order to coach employees to their full potential. Positive outcomes are achievable when the relationship consists of trust, mutual respect, support, and open communication (Manion, 2011). Relationship building may or may not be a strength for all nurse leaders, but understanding oneâ€™s strengths and gaps are essential when faced with a disengaged employee.
Self-assessment tools are available online, through an organizationâ€™s development program, or books for nurse leaders to identify which leadership skills fall into the categories of strengths and opportunities. Relationship building, role modeling, and active listening with open communication are foundations of this nurse managerâ€™s leadership style. Utilizing these skills allow the nurse manager to demonstrate an authentic leadership style and connect with employees who feel disengaged from their work.
Situation-Lack of a Nurse Manager
The clinical head nurse (CHN) role is a nurse leader position at the academic medical center. The CHNs spend 80% of worked hours in the charge nurse role and 20% of worked hours performing administrative duties. From 2016-2017, there was an interim nurse manager (NM) supervising the unit that was also managing two other clinical areas. With such a broad span of control, the director chose to change the worked hours of the two CHNs to that of 50/50 to support the interim NM. The clinical staff felt unsupported during this year and felt disconnected from the CHNs, believing the CHNs could not understand their daily struggles. The CHNs perceived they were supporting the staff beyond expectations, and because of this disconnect, all parties felt resentment; leading the CHNs to disengage from their clinical requirements and display avoidance behavior with the clinical staff because they felt unappreciated.
With the hiring of the permanent NM, this challenge was one of the first problems that the NM needed to address. Utilizing the strengths of relationship building, role modeling, and active listening with open communication, the nurse manager interviewed all clinical staff and the CHNs during the first 60 days to understand all perspectives on the problem. Sharing the findings with the CHNs is the next step in finding an adequate solution. The NM determined that the CHNs and staff needed to reconnect as a team, so the CHNs now work one shift a month in the staff nurse role. The CHNs did not receive this decision well at first, but over time have come to understand, accept, and enjoy this time with their team. The NM role-modeled the importance of connecting with the team by spending time in the charge nurse role and shadowing staff nurses. These adjustments in responsibilities allowed the entire team to build a professional and personal relationship.
Clinical Head Nurse Strengths
The CHNs shared similar strengths in their leadership style, but also have their unique methods. A shared strength is relationship building; their ability and passion for working as part of a team is a motivator for both CHNs (MindTools, n.d.). Spending time with staff outside their administrator and charge nurse role, allows the CHNs to directly assist the staff in their daily work as well as building a personal relationship with their colleagues. The more time they interact together, the staff will see how much the CHNs desire to help them and their capability to perform the staff nurse role, anticipating this will allow for all parties to appreciate each other and their contributions to the team.
One CHN shows strength with execution; she is efficient with managing her time, consistently meets deadlines, and has a â€œget it doneâ€ attitude (MindTools, n.d.). Spending more time in the clinical staff role allowed her to identify quick fixes to improve efficiency for the staff, improving their work environment overall.
The other CHN shows strong strategic thinking with the ability to find new and creative ways to accomplish tasks and overcome obstacles (MindTools, n.d.). Demonstrating this skill to the staff increased her ability to motivate others to think outside of the box and find creative ways to execute job tasks and incorporating new initiatives into their workflow.
The NM and CHN in this scenario are leaders for this clinical unit team, each with their strengths and natural abilities. Together the leaders utilized their skills of execution, strategic thinking, and role modeling to make a successful change despite the gaps in their leadership styles (Kanefield, 2011). They executed a plan that helped to rebuild trust amongst all team members, reconnect with their employees and purpose, and demonstrate appreciation for the contributions of all team members.
Kanefield, A. (2011). Know your own strength. Smart Business St. Louis, 4(2), 6. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Manion, J. (2011). From management to leadership: Strategies for transforming health care (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
MindTools. (n.d.). Strengths-Based Leadership: Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/strengths-…