1. Section Editor(s): Raso, Rosanne MS, RN, NEA-BC

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Have you noticed that sometimes what we perceive as positive traits can turn on us and become negative? We're all naturally inclined one way or the other in terms of our style, habits, and personality. Finding balance on the scale from positive to negative is important so that we lead effectively and manage productively. Too bad that's not so easy-it takes awareness, courage, and focus.

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For example, being nice is an asset; conversely, being "too nice" isn't. Have you ever been told that you're too nice? This may mean you haven't set boundaries that shouldn't be crossed or you've allowed what isn't effective for your team to continue, including people. Or maybe you aren't perceived as being strong or firm in your role. That's taking the strength of niceness and moving it into weakness.


What about the balance of leadership versus management? Some of us are talented leaders, whereas others are better managers or vice versa. We need both: being inspirational (leadership) while simultaneously organizing care delivery-sometimes down to the plan for the next hour (management). Perhaps our management side expects a business plan for every change with return on investment down to the penny, whereas our leadership half knows that some investments are returned in morale and staff engagement. Priceless!


"Pushing the envelope" is one of my favorite expressions, as you know. But it can go too far. Driving change, seeking innovation, leaving your comfort zone, and implementing multiple improvement projects are all worthy endeavors. Until your staff members are too exhausted and they withdraw because they need a break. Do you recognize and honor that change fatigue in your team? Without people on board, you won't have results; without results, you have ineffective leadership.


How about working hard versus having fun? You can and should do both, at the same time. That's balance. Requiring staff members and each other to be immediately responsive 24/7/365 is a recipe for energy depletion-assuming working late and night/weekend calls are frequent-and not in the best interests of team spirit. Take turns and find solutions. Not that we should expect 50/50; that isn't the life of a nurse leader.


Here's something we can all use help balancing: the unceasing data available on our smartphones. Do you wake up and go to sleep with your phone glued to your eyes? Guilty as charged on my end. Downtime from your inboxes and social media is important if you want to really be in the moment, whether it's family time or a work meeting. Incessant data checks aren't beneficial to you, and you know it.


Does this mean that you have to drive in the middle lane at the speed limit with no deviations? No. Sometimes you have to push it in the passing lane, and sometimes you have to take it slow in the right lane. Either to the extreme at all times doesn't work. But finding balance does work, for everyone.


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