So you are aiming to be a leader? I would like to share some of my pieces of advice for nurses who are considering leadership positions:
First: Learn about leadership.
Get a mentor, someone who is respected, not only by you, but within your profession. A person who is in the position you hope to attain. Go to all the In-Services you are able on the topic. Take every free class you can find and pay for the good ones. You can learn from anyone. Even a bad teacher, you can learn what not to do. Focus all of your additional continuing education units on the topic of leadership and supervision. Most of all, read books by leaders and authors you respect, take notes, and put that knowledge to work.
Second: Think like a leader.
Stop doing everything yourself. Learn to delegate tasks. Teach your staff how to do the tasks the way you prefer them, but try not to manage them on the daily aspects. As long as the outcome is completed, then this is not always necessary. Continue your own training. Meet with your mentor on a regular basis, even after you are the leader. Continue to study leadership tactics. Provide continuing education for your staff. You cannot expect your team to grow in knowledge if the tools are not provided.
Last, train your replacement, a good leader is always thinking about their team in the case of promotion or other cause of change. Be a mentor to someone you identify with strong leadership-like qualities. Groom that individual to take on the mantle for the day when you take over the world.
Third: Act like a leader.
When you are the leader, there are difficult decisions to be made. Your personal drama has no place in the workplace. Leave emotion at the door. You will notice the most effective leaders are not concerned with idle gossip of the workplace. Make your friends outside of work. Befriending your coworkers and staff can create a recipe for disaster when you need to reinforce policy. Remember, just as your decisions are not to be taken personally; do not take idle gossip or any decisions made in your regard personally.
Fourth: Let people do their jobs.
If you are the leader, then trust your staff and co-workers to do the jobs they were hired and vetted to do. Leading is getting people to do things. Set the expectation and let them do their jobs. Never confuse supervision with micromanagement. If they make a mistake, as all of us inevitably do, use it as a training tool. Help your team to improve. Then they will be willing to bring these things to your attention rather than hiding mistakes until they cause irreparable harm. By doing all of this, you are setting the tone and direction of your team.
Fifth: Have a strong bench.
You should always be looking for the best talent. If one of your team leaves the company, you should know exactly who the potential candidates are that can take over their job. If you’re starting to sweat by reading this, then you have work to do. Start training, use positive reinforcement, and develop the next generation of leaders. It’s called succession planning and the most effective teams make this a high priority.
This topic is sponsored by:
The School of Nursing at the University of Phoenix College of Health Professions offers graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs that prepare nurses for the new challenges and ever-expanding roles they play in today’s health care field. In an era of unprecedented change – from shifting patient demographics, to the emergence of new models like telemedicine and retail medicine, to an increasingly complex licensing and credentialing environment – the School of Nursing is committed to helping students navigate the changes and remain on the leading edge of their professions.