Hospital environments and other settings in the world of healthcare can become chaotic if there is not a strong leadership presence. Are you an experienced nurse whom others look up to? If you are, you can advance your leadership skills and provide guidance and inspiration for your team members. Here are six tips to help you become an effective leader.
1. Cultivate Relationships
Although you may feel like you don’t have time to truly get to know your team, you should make time to ask how your fellow nurses are faring. Learn about their families, their goals, their backgrounds, and perhaps even their hobbies and preferences. Remember key points from their lives and ask for updates. This will not only cultivate a deeper relationship that can make the work day more enjoyable but also build trust amongst you and your team members. You may even want to consider allowing a few of team members an extended lunch break so they can relax and get to know each other. In time, you’ll find that this practice results in a happier, more efficient unit.
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2. Teach, Don’t Take Over
Does someone on your team have difficulty with a certain task? Instead of assigning someone else, take a few minutes to train and educate the team member. Cultivate a patient mindset and keep in mind that as you help your team members, you contribute to overall better patient care within your facility.
The same idea applies to tasks that, because of your role, you may always automatically do by yourself. Look for small tasks that you can delegate to others.
3. Reward Hard Work
After a long and busy day of work, help alleviate stress by acknowledging all that your team has accomplished. Simple appreciates like going to lunch with co-workers or sending thank you notes with gift cards for coffee can show the team’s hard work is appreciated. You don’t have to do anything elaborate; you just need to show your team that you view them all as crucial, contributing members.
4. Be Prepared
The unexpected happens, and although it’s impossible to prepare yourself mentally and physically for every situation, you can still take steps so you’re rarely caught off guard.
The first step of preparation is being observant. Is your team prepped to handle a high-pressure emergency scenario? Is there a patient whose condition could require that you make significant adjustments in the near future? For example, it can help you know what equipment you should have with you and which patients require more frequent visits than others. Thinking about topics like these will help you be flexible and prepared.
5. Stay Balanced
Being an effective nurse leader isn’t about just one or two things. According to Shantelle Coe, President of the National Society of Nurse Leaders, “An exceptional manager is seasoned with just the right amounts of strength, determination, flexibility, and managerial courage.”
Additionally, making room for your personal life is important. Too much focus on work can cause compassion fatigue and hurt your workplace performance.
6. Continue to Learn
Even if you already have a master’s degree in nursing, your education is never complete. Read articles about the latest trends in nursing and what is changing in health-care, and watch your fellow nurses to see what successful methods they are incorporating. Leaders are progressive, not stagnant.
Are you a nurse leader, or do you hope to become one? Use the above tips to advance your skills and become a role model for your fellow team members.