In the sphere of nursing, nurse practitioners, supervisors, and managers are expected to demonstrate developed leadership qualities to complete their tasks, cooperate with colleagues and patients, and promote health care goals effectively. To understand what qualities are associated with good nurse leaders, it is important to focus on studying nursing leadership competencies (Wong & Laschinger, 2013). However, a better understanding of these competencies is possible concerning analyzing a role model: a nurse leader who has achieved certain results in developing leadership qualities and realizing this potential in practice. For this assignment, N. G. is selected as a nurse leader who has influenced my personal and professional development as a family nurse practitioner. The purpose of this paper is to describe characteristics typical of the selected nurse leader, identify a leadership domain, present a definition of leadership, discuss a leadership model, describe leadership in the context of cultural diversity, focus on approaches to handling controversies, discuss collaboration techniques, and provide the self-reflection on the presented aspects.
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The Leader’s Qualities and Characteristics
N. G. is selected as a nurse leader to be described in this paper because she works as a supervisor for a group of family nurse practitioners in the context of a preceptorship program, and she can educate, support, and motivate novice nurses. To be regarded as a leader, a nurse should demonstrate qualities and characteristics related to the following areas: mentoring, innovation, and activism (Hamric, Hanson, Tracy, & O’Grady, 2014). When nurse leaders perform as mentors, they focus on coaching, sharing the vision, supporting, and empowering others. The focus on innovation means that nurse leaders demonstrate the preparedness to implement and promote the change, they have developed skills in critical thinking and evaluation, and they assess and take risks, as well as demonstrate flexibility. Thus, leaders are expected to be oriented to future progress, development, and positive changes that can improve current situations (Hamric et al., 2014; Wong & Laschinger, 2013). Activism is demonstrated by leaders through their knowledge of factors that contribute to implementing the change, their involvement in social activities and promotion of policies, and their interactions with colleagues and patients.
While taking the discussed attributes and characteristics into account, it is possible to describe leadership qualities related to N. G. and her activities. In her work and cooperation with novice nurses, N. G. pays much attention to coaching and guiding nurses. She performs as a role model for novices and stimulates them to develop skills and competencies to become professionals and leaders in the future. As a result, novice nurses’ self-esteem and confidence increase, as well as their level of adaptability (Saeed, Almas, Anis-ul-Haq, & Niazi, 2014). In this context, the discussed qualities and characteristics are similar to those related to mentoring and associated leader attributes.
Furthermore, N. G. can be viewed as a leader focused on promoting innovation. In her practice, this nurse leader assesses applied programs, plans, and methods of working with other nurses and patients and develops new projects to implement in her organization. For instance, N. G. is one of the nurse leaders who participated in the development and implementation of a new preceptorship program that is currently used in the organization. Thus, these qualities are correlated with the competency of innovation discussed by Hamric et al. (2014). Also, N. G. is good at advocacy for nurses, promoting social justice, and protecting nurses’ and patients’ interests. As a result, this quality of N. G. is correlated with such leader competency as activism.
The Leadership Domain
It is possible to identify four domains related to nursing leadership: clinical leadership, professional leadership, systems leadership, and health policy leadership (Hamric et al., 2014). While analyzing leadership qualities and characteristics of N. G., it is important to note that this nurse leader works in the domain of professional leadership. Thus, N. G. is responsible for mentoring several novice nurses and leading several teams to train and educate nurses to achieve higher professional results. N. G. demonstrates an ability to motivate and empower other nurses to organize their work effectively, obtain knowledge, and develop skills. A nurse leader who operates in the field of professional leadership should be oriented to mentees’ needs and be able to help them overcome professional challenges while developing their competencies (Hamric et al., 2014; Wong & Laschinger, 2013). Furthermore, the focus should be on promoting the continuous education and training.
The analysis of N. G.’s activities and roles demonstrates that this nurse leader is good at developing the professional potential of mentees while guiding, coaching, and training them. N. G. developed an individual program for mentorship in the context of the organizational preceptorship program to work with novice nurses more effectively, to improve their adaptability, and to stimulate their development of professional skills (Wong & Laschinger, 2013). From this point, N. G. works successfully in the field of professional leadership while guaranteeing that novice nurses become expert nurses quickly.
The Leadership Definition
Two basic leadership definitions are related to transformational and situational leadership. While analyzing approaches to leading nurses that are used by N. G., it is possible to state that she follows principles of transformational leadership in contrast to situational leadership oriented to addressing and resolving different immediate situations or problems that depend on the context and circumstances (Hamric et al., 2014). Thus, N. G. seems to apply the standards of transformational leadership. In nursing, transformational leadership can be defined as a type of leadership that “can lead to changes in values, attitudes, perceptions, and/or behaviors on the part of the leader and the follower and lays the groundwork for further positive change” (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 272). From this perspective, transformational leaders are expected to not only lead and support followers but also motivate, empower, and inspire them while demonstrating higher targets to achieve.
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N. G. performs as a transformational leader because, in her work with novice nurses, she is aimed at explaining the principles of nursing from the point of not only health care but also ethics. She tries to share the vision and motivates nurses to realize their potential and develop their skills to become professionals who serve patients’ needs (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013). Nursing is a challenging field, and much attention should be paid to assisting and stimulating novices when they make the first steps in this profession (Wong & Laschinger, 2013). At this stage, the creation of a positive team, motivation, education, and empowerment are important to train novice nurses as not only professionals but also change agents.
The Leadership Model
Researchers identify several leadership models that can be related to the field of nursing: the models oriented to transformation and the models that address changes in systems and orient to innovation (Hamric et al., 2014). It is possible to state that the specific leadership model followed by N. G. is related to the category of models that lead to transformation. Thus, in her practice, N. G. realizes the principles of the Fifth Discipline model developed by Peter Senge (Hamric et al., 2014). According to this model, to become a good leader, a person “must practice and commit to lifelong learning” (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 273). The model is based on developing an individual’s skills regarding the following disciplines or areas: the personal mastery, the awareness of mental models, team learning, the shared vision, and systems thinking (Hamric et al., 2014; Slatyer, Coventry, Twigg, & Davis, 2016). While applying this model, N. G. helps novice nurses set personal goals for developing their leadership skills, builds successful or strong teams, and helps nurses learn through collaborations.
Furthermore, N. G. can be described as being aware of mental models that influence her thinking, and she assists nurses in developing their skills in critical thinking, reasoning, and evaluation. These activities are also connected with the development of systems thinking that is important for viewing large pictures and resolving complex problems (Hamric et al., 2014; Slatyer et al., 2016). As a result, novice nurses become not only motivated but also trained regarding thinking over different types of situations and problems. This approach helps develop nurses as professional workers, critical thinkers, and proactive inspired performers.
As a leader, N. G. demonstrates respect for cultural diversity in the workplace while avoiding biased attitudes and evaluations, as well as discriminating practices, and promoting equality and justice despite ethnic, gender, or religious differences among others. A good leader should demonstrate how it is possible to address the phenomenon of cultural diversity in the workplace to develop effective cooperating relationships and learn how to work with diverse patients (Hamric et al., 2014; Hendricks & Cope, 2013). In her practice, N. G. serves as a model of a leader who respects diversity. For instance, N. G. does not use biased language, and she does not discriminate diverse nurses while assigning tasks. Furthermore, when it is necessary to resolve problematic questions, N. G. empowers team members to present diverse solutions depending on their backgrounds and experience. Thus, there are no members of a diverse team who feel discriminated or oppressed because of some prejudice. As a result, novice nurses can follow this leader’s strategies in interacting and cooperating with representatives of different cultures, races, or generations.
Controversy in the Workplace
Good leaders should be oriented to predicting controversies and any conflicts in the workplace while creating positive and inspiring working environments. Furthermore, they need to use effective techniques to handle any controversy that can be observed in the cooperation of novice nurses. N. G. demonstrates effectively developed skills in negotiating and addressing controversies in the work setting. For instance, N. G. declares ethical norms of communication with co-workers and patients before starting coaching sessions (Cheng, Bartram, Karimi, & Leggat, 2016). Also, there is a plan of action that can be used to resolve conflicts (Hamric et al., 2014; Wong & Laschinger, 2013).
When controversies are not resolved immediately, N. G. discusses the problem with persons involved in the conflict. The purpose of such negotiations is to analyze all aspects of the conflict, resolve it, and predict the occurrence of a similar problem in the future (Saeed et al., 2014). These approaches can be viewed as effective to lead the team and address possible conflicts that can be observed in a healthcare facility. Only when healthcare professionals can avoid conflicts or negotiate, they can achieve high results in their work (Cheng et al., 2016; Hamric et al., 2014). Therefore, leaders need to demonstrate examples of appropriate behaviors that can be followed by their subordinates.
Collaboration can be defined as a process during which employees create partnerships and cooperate to achieve the same results with the focus on developing commitment and selecting the most appropriate ways to achieve the set goals (Hamric et al., 2014; Wong & Laschinger, 2013). As a transformational leader with many years of experience in mentorship, N. G. works to promote collaboration among nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Thus, novice nurses learn the first principles of collaboration while performing as a team and being focused on team learning. At this stage, they learn how to discuss problems and find decisions concerning the knowledge and experience of all team members (Lamont, Brunero, Lyons, Foster, & Perry, 2015; Slatyer et al., 2016). These skills are also used during further stages of the nursing career.
N. G. also pays much attention to helping nurses build strong relationships with physicians. In this case, collaboration is based on understanding that nurses and physicians specialize in different areas in which they are professionals, and it is important to respect the experience of each other without any bias (Hamric et al., 2014; Lamont et al., 2015). For instance, N. G. states that effective collaboration is possible only when all parties accept the strengths and weaknesses of each other and can cooperate to find the most appropriate solution to the problem. Thus, nurses can develop their skills in collaboration concerning N. G.’s guidance.
At the current stage of my professional development, I demonstrate skills typical of those leaders who are focused on innovation. I am interested in promoting the change and making colleagues support it with the focus on introducing innovative technologies or processes. I can communicate the necessity of the change to others and motivate them to accept new processes. Still, my skills related to the fields of mentoring and activism are at the stage of their development. Thus, I have no experience of working as a mentor or a supervisor, but I plan to perform this leadership role in the future. Currently, I develop my skills in organizing the work of colleagues, motivating them, planning activities, and evaluating results.
While discussing the leadership domain related to my experience, I can state that my activities are associated with the clinical leadership because today I am oriented to communicating with patients and addressing their needs, However, I plan to develop my leadership skills and work in the professional leadership domain while performing as a mentor for other nurses. I should state that nowadays I follow the principles of situational leadership, and my actions depend on certain circumstances, and decisions address concrete situations. Nevertheless, I plan to become a transformational leader, therefore, I am oriented to the definition of transformational leadership, according to which people should be inspired to interact and achieve certain goals (Cheng et al., 2016; Hamric et al., 2014). Therefore, the model to follow is Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that are focused on developing the personal mission statement, as well as becoming proactive, positively oriented, and interested in outcomes (Hamric et al., 2014; Wong & Laschinger, 2013).
In my practice, I respect cultural diversity while following ethical norms in communication, demonstrating the interest in diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and participating in multicultural teams. As a leader, I plan to develop my skills in cross-cultural communication. While discussing my skills in handling controversies in the workplace, I should state that I need to develop my competency regarding conflict negotiation. At the current stage, I work to predict conflicts, but I have limited experience in handling the controversy when opposite views are declared, and the resolution is required. For instance, I respect other people’s views and use communication techniques to demonstrate my interest in individuals’ opinions, but I can feel stress when observing conflicts and trying to handle them. To become a good leader, I should pay much attention to developing skills in this area.
As a leader, I am interested in providing the best care for patients and finding the most effective means to address their problems. Therefore, I am oriented to collaborating with other nurses and healthcare providers. For instance, I refer to nurses to collect and analyze evidence regarding treatment options to make a reasonable and effective decision. While communicating with physicians, I am interested in receiving professional comments and providing them with all assistance they need while working with a concrete patient. Therefore, when assessing my leadership skills, I need to state that there are many areas in which I should improve my competencies to become a transformation leader. At the current stage, I can successfully operate as a situational leader while cooperating with nursing team members.
Nursing leadership is important to guarantee that all nurses receive support, consultation, and guidance during their daily activities. The purpose of this paper is to discuss nursing leadership concerning the example of a nurse leader whose leadership attributes can be analyzed in detail. The paper has described characteristics that are typical of the selected nurse leader to present them as qualities of a role model in the field of leadership. Furthermore, the paper has presented an analysis of the professional leadership domain in which the selected leader operates. It has been identified that the leader uses the transformational definition of leadership and follows the principles of Senge’s Fifth Discipline model in her practice. Furthermore, the leader’s actions and decisions have been described concerning the context of cultural diversity, the process of handling controversies in the workplace, and collaboration. Finally, the self-reflection on personal leadership qualities has been conducted. As a result, it is important to note that the goals of this paper have been achieved.
Cheng, C., Bartram, T., Karimi, L., & Leggat, S. (2016). Transformational leadership and social identity as predictors of team climate, perceived quality of care, burnout and turnover intention among nurses. Personnel Review, 45(6), 1200-1216.
Hamric, A. B., Hanson, C. M., Tracy, M. F., & O’Grady, E. T. (2014). Advanced practice nursing: An integrative approach (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
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