I was chatting with my 8 year old son about my new job as a nurse manager and was explaining to him my new schedule and responsibilities. He listened intently which is unusual for him. When I finished speaking, he looked at me and then proceeded to give me advice about being "the boss." This kid should be a career coach. I wrote down his advice and I am amazed how intuitive his rules are for leadership. I elaborated on each of his steps for successful leadership.
Step One: Breathe
Breathing is the most important thing that we do every day. A good leader remembers to breathe in difficult situations. Leaders take a breath when they need a mental break or to relax. Leaders wait until they hear the entire story and take a breath before making a decision. A transformational leader breathes inspiration into their organization.
Step Two: Say good morning to everyone
This one is perfect. Basically, don't forget to be a person. Say hello and acknowledge your team. Let them know you are present even if you are not visible at every moment. Say hello to people in the elevator. Say good morning to the valet attendant. Take time to round on patients and talk to their families. Be late for a meeting because you were showing a patient how to get to radiology.
Step Three: Eat lunch
Don't forget to take care of yourself. Eat lunch. Drink water. Stretch in your office. Take a break to go outside and get some Vitamin D. A tired and hungry leader is ill prepared for stressful situations.
Step Four: Take out the trash
This symbolizes multiple areas of a leader's day. Answer your emails promptly. Return your calls. Handle difficult problems. Discover and remove barriers for your staff. More literally, take out the trash so that your office is neat and tidy. Your office says a lot about you.
Step Five: Play games
I’m not talking about Candy Crush. Play with your staff. We spend a large amount of time at work. It should be enjoyable. Remember birthdays. Reward excellence. Have themed potlucks. Send thank you cards. Don't forget to have fun. Laugh as much as possible. Encourage staff bonding and communication while promoting multidisciplinary respect and cooperation.
Step Six: Say good bye
Let people know you are leaving and thank them for their hard work. Touch base with the charge nurses before you leave. Trust that the unit will run smoothly while you are away. You work with amazing nurses and doctors. They know how to contact you if they need something.
Step Seven: Go home
Go home and try to leave work at work. Spend time with your family and friends. Enjoy your hobbies. Relax. Make dinner. Do whatever it is that makes you happy and recharges you.
If you want more career advice, talk with your insightful eight year old son!