Nurse Managers have a great responsibility of ensuring occupational health and safety as well as patient satisfaction in health service delivery. All nurses have to cultivate the element of “The leader within” that helps them optimize their leadership skills, encourages personal and professional responsibility and enables them to work professionally in their careers. Nurse Manager Competencies as described by American Organization of Nurse Executive (AONE) are essential in guiding nurse leaders into being efficient, effective and better performers. This model set by AONE is very elaborate since it captures most areas of leadership including professionalism, knowledge management, communication, business skills, and management.
Truth encompasses the value of integrity in leadership practice; it entails standing for the right thing despite any situations that might hinder you from doing so. Every healthy being has a conscience that makes them able to differentiate right from wrong hence the development of integrity that enables the building of trust. Integrity is made up of different elements, for instance, staying true to one’s commitments, honesty, selflessness, consistency, respect for all and maintaining morality.
Although people might judge a manager according to their understanding of integrity, managers need to stand by the organizational values and goals to ensure that they are relevant to the roles the organization has given them. When establishing values, principles and policies managers need to also live by them and be an example to those they are leading. Lack of integrity will leave people living in falsehoods that would later cause management challenges. Simons et al (2016) explain that role modeling is one of the greatest tools that could be used to develop culture hence the need for managers with integrity to work towards it.
Managers have a great role in shaping the ethical values as well as the culture of an organization. We are in a generation where anything is litigated hence managers need to avoid instances where personal and organizational liability could arise. Integrity needs to be integrated into the day-to-day activities of an organization to develop a good organizational culture and prevent ethical failures. Although not managers, individual nurses are also leaders in themselves and future managers hence they need to nurture a character of integrity that would enable them to obtain confidence from their colleagues, the organization, and the clients. In building beneficial relationships both within and outside the organizations, behavioral integrity is one of the greatest pillars (Simons et al., 2016).
Appreciation of Ambiguity
It is common for humans to want to be in control of their environment hence the tendency of resisting ambiguity or uncertainty. It is for this that we come up with structures and systems such as laws and procedures that make us feel in control. Ambiguity may be a cause of confusion and chaos in the working environment. However, Nurse Managers and Leaders (NML) need to appreciate this state and work towards lessening them. NML need to strive and be productive and learn from any state of ambiguity. With this transformation will be established since normal patterns and procedures can be broken and be shifted into a new approach to doing things.
Ambiguity should be embraced because for as long as we live things will always remain to be uncertain. This should be a reason why ambiguity is regarded as a home of innovation and creativity to cater for the unexpected. Ambiguity has been the reason why leaders become miserable trying to find solutions that may be dynamic in nature however sometimes leaders need to move with the current since the outcomes could be better than the set solutions.
In embracing ambiguity, NMLs need to understand that they can learn from different people and organizations. However, they must understand their organizational culture in order to make effective decisions. All decisions made should take ambiguity into account since we work under a state of many possibilities hence understanding them would better the choices. There should be freedom in the workplace where NMLs are free to take suggestions and solutions from their colleagues and juniors. NMLs should never be afraid of seeking advice or feel afraid of the juniors who look might smarter than they do since through collaboration they improve productivity (Nelson, 2015).
Maintaining a Global Perspective
Health and nursing in particular is a wide field hence the need for NMLs to maintain a big picture in handling certain matters. As a people, we shall never be same we will always have differences. Therefore as a leader, you will have to lead people from different diversities in opinion, beliefs, culture, gender and a variety of differences. Productivity will be achieved when diversity is maintained since creativity and new ideas will be injected into a situation. In their work, NMLs come across diversity hence the need to embrace it to promote organizational development. Synergy can only be achieved when there is an interaction between two or more things of diverse nature.
In bringing all the diversities together and maintaining the connectedness a state of wholeness can be achieved. As a leader, wholeness is essential because it means that things are working in a collaborative manner to create a system. Approval of diversity in an organization should not entail tolerance but rather the inclusion of the different backgrounds and perspectives. Encouraging diversity will enable people to establish meaningful relationships that will help in growing an organization.
Learning and Development
In my view learning and development is one of my best leadership best practices that would turn an individual into an effective leader and a performer. Learning and development are essential to maintaining sustainability and vigor of an organization. The significance of learning and development is that it helps improve an employee’s skills, increases productivity and effectiveness, encourages motivation and satisfaction among employees, enhances employee retention and informs workers on the new developments in the profession. Learning is not exempt for leaders in an organization, leaders and managers need to be always updated about their organizations and how to improve them. This can be achieved when they learn and put new skills into practice.
One always has the opportunity to learn from oneself in an approach described as reflective learning. Reflective learning is a significant component of effective nursing leadership since it encourages professional, personal as well as organizational growth. Reflection incites learning since it encourages one to see things in a different perspective rather than that which is considered normal. Reflective learning and practice are vital for the development of new skills, improving self-awareness, enhanced decision making and generally for making a positive difference in one’s environment (Knott, & Scragg, 2016).
Good nurse leaders always take the front line when the organization is offering learning opportunities. However, other learning opportunities for nurse leaders may include learning from their colleagues, web-based training, and daily procedures. Discovering ones potential as well as that of others is essential in establishing ways of improving an organization. Porter-O’Grady & Malloch (2016) have elaborately discussed the concept of “continuously becoming” through engaging others and self-development. This concept can be achieved by the leader through discovering one self’s potential and that of others while tapping into them.
Leaders are in a position of authority hence they will always find themselves in a situation where solutions are needed and decisions have to be made. Great leaders should then know how to make the right decisions that have a positive impact on striking a balance between emotions and reason. Making quality decisions is sometimes a hard task due to the many ethical dilemmas in the health profession involving the profession or nurse-patient relationships. Decisiveness is an important characteristic of leadership hence the need for critical thinking that would result in the best ideas. Ethical decision-making is an important element not only for nurse leaders but also for the individual nurses in carrying out their mandate (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2016).
In making decisions leaders need to understand that the decisions they make could affect a larger population hence the need for caution for instance in the case of NMLs. Decisions can be made in different ways, for instance, a command might be given in emergencies where consultation is not needed. In other circumstances, collaborative decision-making is vital where opinions and feedback from others are essential in coming up with effective decisions. Other situations have elicited a consensus approach where the majority have the day in decision-making.
Decision-making is a huge task for NMLs since their decisions affect a huge population including supplies, employees, and patients. In such a case, making a wrong decision would result in huge conflicts that would be tough to solve. Nurses work under the evidence-based mechanism hence the need to make informed decisions when dealing with the health of patients. NMLs should understand that the effectiveness of their leadership role would be measured by the effectiveness of the decisions they institute in an organization.
Coping with Change
Health is a very dynamic field with its elements such as treatment, diagnosis, and technology constantly changing. As Porter-O’Grady & Malloch (2016) illustrates, at some point in their profession nurses will face change for instance in patient care, policies and organizational change. To empower the health system NMLs need to embrace change and consider new developments that encourage organizational development, professional and service delivery improvements. Having change management skills and understanding the dynamics of change is vital for leaders for them to implement any change effectively.
In this current age, technology is taking center stage of every aspect of life including health. Daily processes in healthcare such as diagnosis, information management, treatment procedures clinical decision making are being complemented with technologies, it is appropriate for NMLs to ignite change in their organizations by ensuring that they hold on to the right technologies that improve on their effectiveness and efficiency. According to Goetsch, & Davis (2014), technology can help in facilitating change however, NMLs need to make a step further and convince the employees in embracing it as well as empower them on how to use it.
When the nurse leaders have the appropriate knowledge about new programs, e.g. technology then they will have courage and understanding to support their juniors who are always on the look for clarity and accountability. Change can at times be seen as demoralizing or negative hence the vital role of leaders in smoothening the transition to a level of acceptance. Nurse Managers need always to be in a constant audit of change programs to assess the effectiveness since when they do not fulfill organizational expectations then they leave employees in a state of chaos (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2016).
Conflict management is one of my top most leadership best practices that I believe would make a leader effective in his role. In an organization such as a hospital, conflicts will always be there since people constantly have differences. Different conflicts can arise in the nursing environment such as bullying, interdisciplinary conflicts, non-adherence of procedures. Conflicts can be distinguished as either nurse-client conflict, workplace conflict or conflict between colleagues. It is therefore inevitable for leaders to come in and ensure an enabling environment where employees would work together for a common good.
Conflicts can arise in different ways for instance miscommunication, differences in values and principles, misinformation, poor attitude, and jealousy. Great leaders do not run away from conflicts but rather resolve them to ensure a safe acceptable working environment. Unresolved conflicts encourage feelings of hostility and resentment hence a situation where an organization will be stagnant in a particular area. It is vital for leaders to understand conflict situations and address them before they turn into violent conditions (Saeed et al., 2014).
Saeed et al. (2014) elaborate on the different ways that a leader can solve conflicts in the workplace, for instance, encouraging collaboration, improving on communication skills, setting goals for each worker and encouraging employees to respect and set boundaries amongst themselves. Health career is grounded in the collaboration of different health professionals and clients hence nurse leaders are essential in ensuring that collaborative relationships are built to take the profession forward.
Management and Commitment
When entering into the field of health one always sees a lifetime opportunity that requires proper management and commitment to one’s goals. As a leader or manager, you are entrusted with various resources that need to be properly managed to ensure effectiveness and efficiency. Organizational and professional commitments are vital for a leader to maintain success in his mandate. Chen et al. (2015) write on the importance of non-monetary elements in achieving high performance in an organization. Organizational commitment is one of the elements that could ensure that NMLs take the organization in the right direction. Committing to oneself is also vital since it allows the leader to find ways that help them renew their psychological and physical components.
Although NMLs are essential within the nursing profession, it is proper that individual nurses take responsibility and protect the profession from being leaders in themselves. Nonetheless, leaders are vital in leading the organization on the right track. The leadership best practices outlined here may not be comprehensive hence the need for nurse leaders to research more and search themselves to find out in the areas of leadership that they must build on.
Chen, S. Y., Wu, W. C., Chang, C. S., Lin, C. T., Kung, J. Y., Weng, H. C., … & Lee, S. I. (2015). Organizational justice, trust, and identification and their effects on organizational commitment in hospital nursing staff. BMC health services research, 15(1), 363.
Goetsch, D. L., & Davis, S. B. (2014). Quality management for organizational excellence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: pearson.
Knott, C., & Scragg, T. (Eds.). (2016). Reflective practice in social work. Learning Matters.
Nelson, C. (2015). Ambiguity? A New Book Suggests Leaders Should Learn to Love It. HuffPost. Retrieved 16 April 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-nelson/ambiguity-a-new-book-sugg_b_7081134.html
Porter-O’Grady, T., & Malloch, K. (2016). Leadership in nursing practice: Changing the landscape of health care.
Saeed, T., Almas, S., Anis-ul-Haq, M., & Niazi, G. S. K. (2014). Leadership styles: relationship with conflict management styles. International Journal of Conflict Management, 25(3), 214-225.
Simons, T. L., Schnaubelt, K., Longstreet, J., Sarkisian, M., Allen, H., & Feltman, C. (2016). Executive Insights on Leader Integrity: The Credibility Challenge.