Ask the nursing expert ... about becoming a good leader

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Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA
Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA

As a nurse manager, how do I lead my team to great outcomes?

Just because a group of nurses, RNs, LPNs and CNAs have their names on the same schedule does not mean that they will function as a team. The nurse manager's ability to inspire others to focus and work together, to take those individual personalities serving in a variety of roles and move them toward a common goal, is needed to create a successful clinical team.

No one person can achieve significant outcomes. The leader who grasps this will pave the way to success through combined effort. Leaders who fail to grasp this are usually hampered by ego, insecurity or temperament.

A great nurse leader can make the shift from leading a group of independent people to creating a team by keeping his or her vision in the forefront and assessing team members' attitudes.

Point your staff toward a meaningful target, the vision. See the goal, achieve the goal! 

What's the attitude of your team? Do your team members see only what benefits them individually or are they committed to the team's success? As a great leader, you have to model the willingness to achieve the big picture and motivate through positive reinforcement of each person's attempts to reach the goal.

We hear the phrase “interdisciplinary team approach” so often it loses its meaning. But each of us has a unique set of skills, an area of expertise. Concentrate on putting the right people in the right roles. Important perspectives would be missed if only one person were to provide care.

Draw on the strengths of your staff members and acknowledge everyone's individual contributions. Harness the power of the team to develop a strong and effective department, working toward the goal of successful patient outcomes.


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