Personal Values and Beliefs
Effective nursing leaders not only know their leadership values and beliefs, but they also pursue and apply them in decision-making. Kouzes and Posner (2012) state that clarity of leadership values enables a leader to make good choices and remain committed to his or her chosen course of action. As a democratic leader, one of the writer’s core leadership values is collaboration. Collaborative partnerships between the caregiver and patient/family form a core principle of strength-based nursing care (SBNC) in which family/patient play greater role in the management of their health (Gottlieb, Gottlieb & Shamian, 2012).
The writer believes that collaboration engenders confidence and trust among the partners and creates an environment of openness that encourages sharing of expertise and evidence resulting in evidence-based practice.
The writer’s second core value is commitment to workplace diversity. Healthcare organizations require professionals with the right skill mix to handle the diverse needs of the patients. Therefore, a leader should know the staff’s skills and expertise and formulate a plan to strengthen them (Gottlieb, Gottlieb & Shamian, 2012). In this regard, the writer values staff development as a way of improving the diversity of views within the workplace.
Both the baccalaureate- and practical-prepared nurses play an essential role in the modern care system. In particular, the Canadian care system requires diverse skills to deal with complex healthcare needs associated community-based care (Pijl-Zieber, Grypma & Barton, 2014). On-job learning is another way of developing staff in an organization. It requires a leader to provide nurses with support, opportunities, and resources to encourage learning within the workplace.
As a democratic leader, the writer also believes in differences of opinion in a healthcare setting. People hold different perspectives to a common situation due to differences in knowledge, experiences, or worldviews. In this regard, a nurse leader should know how to manage multiple viewpoints because such differences can affect clinical decisions and quality of care (Gottlieb, 2014). Thus, learning how to tolerate conflicting viewpoints helps nurture innovation and encourages professional growth.
A caring-based approach is another core value of the writer. The writer believes that positive emotions towards nurses enhance their work commitment and motivation. According to Wong (2012), authentic leadership model, which supports the strengths and capacities in a healthcare environment, positively influences “nurses’ attitudes, work engagement, and commitment” (p. 54). Thus, a care-oriented work environment fosters trust and hope in the leadership, which translates into better performance.
Personal Vision on Nursing Leadership
A leadership vision is a clear guiding philosophy that is based on a leader’s core values. It allows one to choose and guide others towards a particular direction. The writer’s ideal leadership vision in nursing is transparency in clinical communication and decision-making. Nurses face multiple challenges in their practice that can only be addressed through leadership transparency. Workplace stress, burnout, and horizontal violence, which are common challenges in the Canadian healthcare system (Gaudine & Lamb, 2015), hamper the nurses’ ability to offer quality care. Often, these issues go unreported because of a lack of communication transparency.
Accountability to oneself, to others, and to one’s profession is a key quality of a democratic leader (Steele, 2005). As a leader, the writer envisions a care environment where the health professionals communicate their grievances to the leadership with greater openness while exercising accountability for their actions.
Transparency in leadership is crucial in developing nursing capacities and strengths. The growth of nursing as a profession is attributed to staff development within the healthcare settings. The sixth principle of the strength-based nursing model holds that people’s attitudes depend on their skills and working conditions (Gottlieb, Gottlieb & Shamian, 2012). This means that for a nurse to be efficient and effective, he or she must have the requisite skills for the job.
Conversely, the healthcare environment must capitalize on the nurse’s skills and strengths to achieve desired goals. Thus, the training of nurses empowers them and promotes ‘person-job fit’ through the new skills acquired (Laschinger, Wong & Greco, 2006). As Chubbs (2014) writes, nurses play a leading role in bringing change and in the promotion of their own development. A transparent leadership will involve the nurses in identifying their career goals in order to design an appropriate development plan.
In addition, developing the existing skills and competencies is one way of effecting change in the workplace. Honesty in leadership fosters mutual trust whereby nurses freely share information with the leadership and engage in innovation. According to Wong (2012), a transparent workplace allows nurses to ‘thrive at work’ by engaging in critical thinking and experimentation. It also enhances their inner strengths and abilities such as “self efficacy, hope, and optimism” that are associated with higher job satisfaction and performance (Wong, 2012, p. 54). This shows that an honest and transparent workplace environment results in positive nursing outcomes by promoting trust and respect.
A transparent environment also provides feedback opportunities, which foster nursing autonomy in the workplace. In the writer’s view, a democratic leader should not micromanage nurses; rather, he or she should allow nurses to exercise autonomy with regard to care delivery. Such an approach allows nurses to live up to their values and professional goals, improves job satisfaction and performance, and results in better psychological health (Gagne & Deci, 2005). It also enables them to construct their own perspectives based on individual experiences and knowledge. This results in diverse viewpoints and ideas that are essential in creating a positive healthcare environment. As aforementioned, the writer values workplace diversity. As a democratic leader, the writer will encourage autonomy and self-determination to promote workplace diversity.
Collaborative partnerships are central to strength-based nursing. In the writer’s view, a transparent leadership is the one that facilitates collaboration among different departments, professionals, and stakeholders. The patient-centered care model requires concerted efforts from various healthcare professionals to uncover the patient’s deficits and strengths. The approach gives the patient greater control over their health by focusing on his/her strengths rather than weaknesses (Gottlieb, 2014).
Collaboration involving an interdisciplinary health care team, and the patient and his/her family can uncover the patient’s strengths, which can be used to promote quick recovery. Collaborative partnerships can only occur in a transparent workplace environment that fosters sharing of information. Moreover, a transparent workplace allows nurses to evaluate and communicate the patient’s condition to family in a confidential and respectful manner.
Personal Leadership Mandate
Leadership values are only useful when applied in practice. Nursing leaders have a mandate of implementing their leadership values and visions in the healthcare organizations they lead. To promote transparency in decision-making, the writer has a mandate of promoting open communication among nurses. According to Kouzes and Posner (2012), a leader has a role of clarifying his or her vision and values to guide nursing actions of the team he or she leads. The writer will promote a culture of honest communication between himself and the nurses through regular feedback.
Unlike annual reviews, regular feedback related to performance can motivate positive change and greater responsibility on the part of the worker. As Steele (2005) puts it, a good leader is one who takes responsibility for his or her own actions as well as those of the other team members because some nursing decisions have implications for the performance of the entire unit. Thus, in the writer’s view, regular feedback will improve performance and promote transparency throughout the organization.
Besides, consultation and involvement of the nurses in designing their work cycles and development goals will help the writer exert his influence on them. According to Steele (2005), understanding the power of one’s influence is a key quality of a good leader. Through regular feedback, the writer will influence nurses to be more accountable for their actions.
Besides performance feedback, the writer will inform the nurses the organization’s long-term and short-term goals. This will create an environment of trust and honesty in the organization. Information and resources also empower nurses and result in sound clinical decisions (Wong, 2012). Evidence-based practice is a product of nursing autonomy where nurses feel obligated to apply research in patient care.
Trust and honesty in the workplace can be achieved when nurses are involved in decision-making. Nurses, as professionals involved in direct patient care, can give important insights into how care delivery can be improved. Thus, incorporating their views during decision-making not only enhances a spirit of transparency and openness, but it also enhances their organizational commitment and job satisfaction.
Chubbs, K. (2014). Nurses: Leading change one day at a time. Nursing Leadership, 27(2), 8-9.
Gagne, M. & Deci, E. (2005). Self-Determination Theory and Work Motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(1), 331–62.
Gaudine, A., & Lamb, M. (2015). Nursing leadership and management: Working in Canadian health care organizations. Toronto, ON: Pearson.
Gottlieb, L. N. (2014). CE: Strengths-based nursing: A holistic approach to care, grounded in eight core values. American Journal of Nursing, 114(8), 24-32.
Gottlieb, L. N., Gottlieb, B., & Shamian, J. (2012). Principles of strengths-based nursing leadership for strengths-based nursing care: A new paradigm for nursing and healthcare for the 21st century. Nursing Leadership, 25(2), 38-50.
Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2012). The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Laschinger, H., Wong, C. & Greco, P. (2006). The Impact of Staff Nurse Empowerment on Person–Job Fit and Work Engagement/Burnout. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 30(4): 358–67.
Pijl-Zieber, E. M., Grypma, S., & Barton, S. (2014). Baccalaureate nursing education: Has it delivered? A retrospective critique. Nursing Leadership, 27(2), 27-34.
Steele, R. (2005). Do we have the power to create our own future as oncology nurses? Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 15(1), 15-20, 28.
Wong, C. A. (2012). Advancing a positive leadership orientation: From problem to possibility. Nursing Leadership, 25(2), 51-55.