Delivery of care services to patients requires nurses to work as teams, which should be led by managers for the effective running of duties. Therefore, nurse leaders play an important role in the day-to-day execution of duties in different healthcare set-ups. In addition, such individuals are tasked with change management whenever the need arises. As such, each nurse leader adopts a certain leadership style that he or she deems necessary for the achievement of the set objectives. This paper is a narration of an interview with a clinical nurse leader (Ms. Q) whose main duties include instructing and orienting new nurses to the workplace environment. She is also required to brief existing nurses on changes needed to be effected on different occasions.
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The Interviewed Nurse Leader
The person interviewed for this assignment has been a nurse for seven years and a leader for the last two years when she acquired her master’s degree in nursing. She notes that she has always wanted to be a leader because she feels that she can achieve a lot in that position to ensure that patients receive quality and timely care as a way of reducing disease morbidity and mortality. Consequently, she undertook her master’s studies with the main purpose of becoming a nurse leader in different capacities. She aspires to head the entire hospital one day before joining advocacy groups where she hopes to spearhead policy change for the benefit of other nurses and patients.
Based on the interview and interaction with Ms. Q, it is clear that she practices a transformative leadership style. She claims that she learned early in her career as a registered nurse (RN) that the success of any leader will depend on the style adopted when managing individuals or groups of people. According to her, she decided to pursue this form of leadership after one of her managers inspired her seven years ago when she started her first job as a nurse. She argues that her manager would focus on the bigger picture of improving patient care and bettering systems and processes by focusing on how to achieve the set goals. She notes that the healthcare provision environment is constantly evolving to adapt to the ever-changing and mounting patient needs. Therefore, transformational leadership fits well into this scenario because it requires leaders to inspire team members to work towards a common mission and vision through shared goals.
According to Ms. Q, this style of leadership results in engaged and productive teams. However, such transformative leaders may be counterproductive if they lack some of the key qualities that are required for the proper management of groups. Ms. Q gives some characteristics that are needed to ensure that the transformational leadership style operates optimally to achieve the desired results. First, managers should keep their egos under control to avoid interfering with the best interest of other team members. Self-management and the ability to take calculated risks follow in her list. As such, leaders should be in a position to trust their instincts and leverage the contribution of other members to make informed decisions. Additionally, such leaders are required to inspire their subordinates and promote a shared organizational consciousness, which allows them to take actions that spur growth.
Ms. Q’s Characteristics for Effective Leadership
According to Ms. Q, transformative leaders should be in a position to articulate and share their vision with the rest of the team members. This involves articulating where they expect to be within a given period and how to get there. Additionally, managers should lead by example as a way of building their credibility and gaining respect from their followers. Consequently, they are expected to set the right examples by demonstrating behavior that is worth following. In other words, leaders should align their words with their actions and set standards to be followed by team members. Ms. Q also believes that leaders must demonstrate integrity in whatever they do by having and following the right convictions concerning what is right or wrong.
Another attribute that leaders should have is the ability to communicate effectively. Clear, concise, and tactful communication plays a central role in the success of any leadership style. It goes beyond listening and responding to followers to include asking the right questions, soliciting new ideas, clarifying misconceptions, and being clear with what is being said. In addition, effective leaders, according to Ms. Q, should be prepared to make hard decisions. This aspect demands someone to make timely and at times unpopular decisions, even with limited information. After a decision is made, a leader should take responsibility for the consequences without blaming others if things do not go as expected. Another characteristic is the ability and skill to empower followers. This aspect entails giving people the needed resources and allowing them to have autonomy and authority to determine the best way to execute their work. Finally, effective leaders motivate and inspire their team members by investing time and resources to understand the strengths of the led to advance the development of their potential.
Techniques for Empowerment
Ms. Q believes that every person has inherent strengths that could be nurtured to bring out the best in the execution of duties. Her first technique for empowering her team members is demonstrating her trust to them by delegating tasks to ensure development. The nurse leader argues that she does not simply assign workers certain jobs for the sake of doing it. On the contrary, she delegates with the intent of developing individuals’ capabilities and instilling a sense of responsibility. She also gives other nurses autonomy over assignments by letting them decide the best way to accomplish the set goals. In addition, she gives constructive feedback to ensure continuous learning and improvement. Instead of being general in her feedback like telling an employee that he or she has done a “good job”, she points specific attitudes or actions that she would like to see moving forward.
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She also encourages self-improvement as part of continuous learning and growth. As such, she argues that she does not necessarily have to give monetary incentives to workers. Even having flexible schedules is enough to allow individuals to have sufficient time to pursue personal development on their own terms. Additionally, she exercises what she calls “leaving the office door open” as a way of being accessible to other nurses. This aspect allows individuals to share their opinions and contribute to the ultimate success of the entire organization. Other empowerment strategies include inspiring creative thinking, appreciating hard work, and providing the necessary resources for the accomplishment of different tasks.
Interview Findings Based on Available Literature
According to the available literature, transformational leadership is a “process by which leaders raise the aspirations and motivations of others to higher levels by appealing to higher ideals and values” (Renjith, Renu, & George, 2018, p. 112). This definition matches Ms. Q’s idea of this form of leadership. As mentioned earlier, she was inspired by her former manager, who mainly focused on the bigger picture of organizational development, patient safety, and improved care outcomes. As such, the definition by Renjith et al. (2018) captures Ms. Q’s fundamental understanding and execution of this style of leadership.
Similarly, Giddens (2018) argues that the key characteristics of transformative leaders include the ability to motivate, inspire, and stimulate followers towards the achievement of certain goals. From the interview, Ms. Q embodies all these characteristics. In addition, Boamah (2018) states that this style of managing people is associated with reduced disease mortality and morbidity, which supports the interviewee’s observations. Finally, Ms. Q uses reward power, which is the ability to honor employees for desirable behavior (Hashish, 2015). The respondent stated clearly that rewarding hard work is one of the characteristics of effective leadership, which is in tandem with Hashish’s (2015) observation.
Summary and Conclusion
This interview is rich in leadership nuggets that any nurse could borrow in the process of career advancement. One of the many lessons from this experience is that leaders’ actions can inspire their followers and influence their future decisions. For instance, Ms. Q decided to pursue a transformational leadership style after being impressed by her former manager. Additionally, this form of managing people seems to yield good results from the leader. Involving employees in decision-making and considering their input is a transformative approach to leadership. This assertion holds because the people bound to be affected significantly by the decisions made get to determine how duties are executed and goals achieved for the common good of both patients and nurses.
Boamah, S. (2018). Linking nurses’ clinical leadership to patient care quality: The role of transformational leadership and workplace empowerment. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 50(1), 9-19.
Giddens, J. (2018). Transformational leadership: What every nursing dean should know. Journal of Professional Nursing, 34(2), 117-121.
Hashish, E. A. (2015). The relationship between power bases and influence tactics of first-line nurse managers. European Journal of Business Management, 7(7), 347-357.
Renjith, V., Renu, G., & George, A. (2018). Transformational leadership in nursing. International Journal of Scientific Research & Management Studies, 2(2), 112-118.