Ask the nursing expert: when to say "yes" and when to say "no" to your staff

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert
My nursing staff thinks that I am the greatest DON around, as long as I always say “yes” to their requests. But when I have to say “no,” they pout and turn a cold shoulder to me. To be a good leader, am I expected to always say “yes?”

Heavens no! Fairness and consistency matter in the long run. You cannot be everyone's best friend. There are many situations that arise that will require a “no” answer.

Do your best to explain your answer when you can, but sometimes the answer is just plain “no.”

For example, if a nurse walks up to you and says in the middle of her shift that she wants to take the day off tomorrow because she wants to see if she can get an appointment to take her car in for repairs, you would want to think for a minute and then probably ask her to think about scheduling an appointment on her next day off.

At the very minimum, she should at least allow the scheduler some more time to find a potential replacement. So, your answer should be “no,” but with a reasonable explanation. As a leader, you must be sound and fair.

You don't have to explain everything to the “nth” degree, but you do need to be able to show a solid basis for your decisions. That way you can apply

the same reasoning for all of your employees. Inconsistent treatment of staff members is a sure-fire way to create problems, no matter where you work or what you do.