What is your nursing leadership style

Nursing Leadership Positive and Negative Approaches


The challenges facing nurse professionals are burn out, lateral violence, compassion fatigue, lack of respect, support and training, unfair compensation, and unrealistic expectations. While some nurses cannot find employment, others are forced to work overtime due to shortages.  New nurses flee from the profession too soon and seasoned nurses are unable to retire. 

Your nursing leadership can be the glue that holds some nurses together. Positive leadership rewards, uplifts and motivates other employees. In the 23 years as a nurse I have seen alot of styles of leadership. Some worked very well and others completely bombed out.

At one time we had a charge nurse that ran just two units. She filled out the schedules and was able to arrange for every ones time off with ease. She made the charge nurse position look like it was a piece of cake to run. For the most part people were happy and content. Happy employees make a charge nurse look very good. When the staff knows she/he goes above and beyond to make their working environment pleasant they in turn will work hard to make her her shine as well. Rarely did we have fellow staff call out of work, unless someone was really sick. She took the time to pick up the phone and call to see how they were and if they needed anything. The phone call was brief and to the point, but she always made you feel special.

Fast forward many years and several charge nurses later. I have yet to have experience that style of employee support and respect passed down to the staff. I will always compare charge nurses to her because of the way she made me feel.

Since those days I have watched, received and heard about how other charge nurses talk to their staff. Cursing at a nursing staff that made a mistake really doesn't do much for the working relationship and lowers the level of respect for that person in charge. With my bold personality – I do not receive that type of butt chewing very quietly.

Some people enjoy the intimidation and control they have in a charging position. That does not go with the role – it is a personal choice how you want to lead other people. True leaders that are concerned about the human needs of their employees. They build a teamwork mindset, and help employees with their problems, and provide support. Real leaders know and understand that when you believe in others, in return you will see greater results in performance and job satisfaction.

I have seen way to many nurses leave their supervisor office in tears unable to clearly focus for the remainder of the shift due to being upset by how they were spoken too. Most people know and understand when they make an error, and willingly take responsibility for that mistake. There is no need to talk down to people who are already stressed on the job and are now walking in fear of making another mistake to receive more wrath.

What can you do a staff nurse or charge nurse to become a better leader?

The basic human need is to be cared for and respected. Praise people publicly, but discipline people privately – If you do need to discipline people don’t try to make a public spectacle of them to set an example.  People won’t learn – they’ll just think you’re an arsehole.  People absorb their mistakes when they aren’t embarrassed by them.

Don’t yell. Yelling yields resentment in the receiver and often makes the message unpalatable, I have a temper like anybody. I cannot say I’ve never yelled. However, Pointing your finger and looking over your glasses yelling at me will not have a good ending. That I can promise with a smile.

Discuss what you would have expected – I never understood why when managers did reviews they’d say what you did wrong without a clear explanation of what they think you should have done.  If you don’t have an answer for what the right process or right behavior would be then you’re not going to be very effective in helping the person to be better next time.

Always make sure you let people know what they do right. Sound simple doesn't it? However it is rarely done. The yearly and quarterly employee reviews should have a space that says " you got caught doing something good"

The final big mistake that managers make in performance appraisals is doing too much talking and not enough listening. As a manager you do not want to sound like Charlie Browns teacher. Treat your staff like they are human and have families that they love. Care enough for them that when they have something going on in their life – they do not feel as if they are going to have to stand in front of the one eyed monster and feel like they have to make the choice over the family.

Angela is a nurse that has worked for 21 years in the same state funded psychiatric hospital assisting some clients that others might refuse to treat. She works on the psychiatric ward.

She also runs her own company on the side and supports other nurses in how to bring passion into their role at work. Out of the box remedies for speaking to people and more.

Angela's blogtalk radio show is laser sharp for today's world! Take the Nursing Survey by clicking here We want to hear from you

What Did You Think?


Let us know your thoughts on today's issue.
Post your comments here.

Forward this email to a friend!

Are we connected on Twitter? | Come write on my Facebook Page wall!


2 thoughts on “What is your nursing leadership style”

  1. I love being around leaders who are love-based – they build up their team members and command respect by their servant hearts! James Roswell Quinn has a good book and seminar based on love-based leadership …. so much more pleasant than operating in and out of fear! Great observations and article, Angela!

  2. Congratulations Angela!  I'm glad to see professionals writing about this; it's what leaders do.  There can never be enough encouragement in the world.  It's possible that encouragement might be just the thing that could "flip the switch" for someone to take a course of action they may not have thought of.  This is great content that will continue to bring value to those lucky enough to find you!  Keep it coming.  

Comments are closed.