HealthOctober 03, 2017

At the core of Magnet: Transformational leadership

The first of a 4-part blog series examining the various components of the ANCC Magnet Recognition® model.

With the ANCC National Magnet 2017 Conference right around the corner, our “Calling the Shots: Nursing News and Notes” blog will be taking a closer look at the ‘forces of Magnetism’ with a 4-part series on the components of the current ANCC Magnet Recognition® model.  Today’s blog is the first installment that focuses on Transformational Leadership. 

In a nutshell, what makes an organization worthy of Magnet recognition? For a simple answer, look to the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Model Components. Consider it a type of “ingredient list” for organizations seeking a tried-and-true recipe for Magnet success.

For best results, organizations will need:

  1. Transformational leadership;
  2. Structural empowerment;
  3. Exemplary professional practice;
  4. New knowledge, innovation, and improvements; and
  5. Empirical quality results.

Mix well.

Here’s a look at transformational leadership, and why it’s so integral to modern health care organizations.

What transformational leaders do

“Today's health care environment is experiencing unprecedented, intense reformation,” the American Nurses Credentialing Center explains on its website. “Unlike yesterday's leadership requirement for stabilization and growth, today's leaders are required to transform their organization's values, beliefs, and behaviors.”

To do so, they need to be able to convince others, even those who dislike change or fail to see the need for it, to follow their lead.

“It is relatively easy to lead people where they want to go,” ANCC continues. “The transformational leader must lead people to where they need to be in order to meet the demands of the future.”

Transformational leaders work through empowerment, motivation, consideration, and influence. They listen, affirm, communicate, and exercise a good deal of creativity in how they approach obstacles.

Who transformational leaders are

A study in the Journal of Nursing Administration sheds some light on the transformational leadership practices of chief nursing officers (CNOs) at Magnet organizations. The two top transformational leadership strategies among the 225 Magnet CNOs surveyed were “enabling others to act” and “modeling the way.”

Interestingly, more years of CNO experience as well as doctorate degrees correlated with greater transformational leadership skills in the study population.

“As Magnet CNOs become older and more experienced, they are more transformational—inspiring others, encouraging initiative, and fostering innovation and change,” researchers wrote.

“The findings [also] bring new awareness to the relationship between Magnet CNOs with doctorate degrees and the ability to effectively envision the future, enlist others in new opportunities, and take risks. This new knowledge should encourage nurse leaders to continue to advance their education and provide a needed catalyst for organizations to support them.”

Transforming your inner leader

Not a CNO with years of experience? Lack a doctorate? Lack a managerial title, for that matter? That doesn’t mean you can’t exercise transformational leadership in your practice.

“You don't have to be a nurse manager to be a transformational leader,” Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC, wrote in Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! “Nurses in all settings have the ability to inspire and effect change.”

Lockhart offered this advice for tapping into your inner transformational leader.

“Nurture [others’] intellectual and creative spirit. Create an environment that not only stimulates growth, but also develops a desire to create growth,” she wrote. “Be a role model, seek self-improvement, look to problem solve, admit when you're wrong, and put the team first.”

If you’ve ever worked under a transformational leader, you’ll likely recognize these traits and can appreciate the difference such professionals make in energizing a workplace. According to Lockhart, transformational leadership boosts employee satisfaction, lowers turnover, and strengthens staff commitment to an organization. In health care settings, transformational leadership increases quality of care and patient satisfaction.

It’s no wonder this powerful yet positive leadership style is a core component of the Magnet model.

Stay tuned for the next blog installment that will focus on the Structural Empowerment component of the ANCC Magnet Recognition® model – coming later this week! 

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