HealthApril 23, 2015

Three top leadership skills for nurse leaders

Nurse leaders are faced with a variety of challenges every day. Learn 3 vital skills that are critical for success.

Nurse leaders are faced with a variety of challenges every day, including managing resources, advanced planning and goal setting, collaborating with other hospital and community leaders, improving quality measures, cutting costs, reporting to the board of directors, and many more. Being a nurse leader is far from easy. To be an effective leader it takes stamina, persistence, and three essential skills.

The three top essential skills required of every nurse leader involve:

  1. Shared decision-making
  2. Relationship management
  3. Social awareness.

#1 Shared decision-making

Successful nurse leaders incorporate principles of shared decision-making into their everyday practice. Shared decision-making promotes staff autonomy, accountability, and engagement. Instead of directing and controlling the decision-making process, the nurse leader coaches, guides, and facilitates. The result is a work environment that fosters respect, cooperation, and collegiality. Communication between staff and management becomes multidirectional, allowing problems to be openly discussed and solved. Shared decision-making also allows staff to assume responsibility and accountability for their nursing practice, which in turn provides a sense of empowerment and improves job satisfaction.

#2 Relationship management

Nurse leaders must be able to manage relationships with a wide variety of individuals because collaboration and team work are required to deliver high-quality patient care. Collaborative relationships should be established that honor the visions and values of the organization. Effective communication skills are keys to managing any relationship, but they’re especially important to nurse leaders who must engage in a variety of relationships. Excellent oral and written communication skills help ensure that staff understands expectations. These skills are also important for resolving conflicts and moving toward common goals. A nurse leader must be able to persuasively communicate while demonstrating empathy and an understanding of diverse situations. Moreover, a successful nurse leader encourages nurses to develop communication skills so they can openly communicate with other multidisciplinary team members, solve problems, and actively participate in patient care decisions.

#3 Social awareness

Social awareness is another key to the success of any nurse leader. Being socially aware can be quite complex. It involves caring about what others are experiencing, understanding their needs, and responding to those needs. Social awareness also involves understanding social networks and norms within groups, cultures, and networks. These groups, cultures, and networks may be located within your facility, community, region, or throughout the world. It requires active listening skills and the ability to communicate effectively, compassionately, and empathetically with members of the group. It also requires the ability to identify the motivations, allegiances, and stakeholders of the group…in other words, knowing the politics within the group, which, in an ever-changing healthcare environment, can be quite difficult. Whatever the situation, listen attentively and respond in a way that isn’t judgmental.

Leadership success

Shared decision-making, relationship management, and social awareness are all important to nursing leadership success. Acquiring and maintaining these skills can be challenging, but they’re well worth it in the long run. As a successful nurse leader, you inspire others every day to do their best and help them develop effective leadership skills.

Do you agree? Are these the top leadership skills that you find important in your everyday practice?

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