1. Pullen, Richard L. Jr. EdD, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNE-cl, ANEF

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Q: What are the characteristics of a successful leader?

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A: Leadership is a vital role for nurses in all practice settings. Leaders can transform the organization's mission, vision, goals, and processes into positive outcomes by valuing, inspiring, motivating, and empowering others within a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration.


Here are strategies you can use to lead your team:


* Cultivate self-awareness-the understanding of one's own emotions, motivations, strengths, areas needing improvement, and sensitivity to human need.


* Create a personal philosophy of leadership by learning about various leadership theories and traits.


* Develop an understanding of the roles of manager and follower on the intra- and interprofessional team. Highly effective leaders may elect to serve in a manager or follower role for a specific project or task and assign managers or followers to a leadership role to empower them.


* Foster a practice environment where people feel valued and contribute their maximum potential.


* Use humor and fun to guide the team in achieving outcomes. Celebrate successes of individuals and groups.


* Demonstrate accountability and responsibility using professional standards and requirements to drive decision-making from an ethical-legal perspective.


* Focus on patient-centered care and evidence-based practice as frameworks to ensure safe patient care.


* Share innovation that addresses organizational needs, community needs, and the nursing profession.


* Practice effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Leaders have a countenance and demeanor that's open, warm, and friendly. Actively listen to others and spend time with them.


* Engage in effective written communication skills. Respond to paper and email correspondence promptly and always include a greeting (salutation) with the person's name and a complimentary closing.


* Evaluate data to improve processes continuously. A nurse informaticist can play a major role in collecting, monitoring, and evaluating big data from information systems and various forms of technology.


* Manage fiscal and human resources judiciously. Ensure an optimal nurse-patient ratio to promote safe patient care and avoid nurse burnout.


* Delegate appropriately. Ensure that team members understand their position's responsibilities and provide them with the resources they need to safely perform their roles.


* Nurture an environment where change is welcome. Show courage in leading, supporting, and sustaining change.


* Deal with problems promptly. Be responsive, not reactive. Responsiveness with action requires careful thought and analysis, whereas being reactive may result in actions that are emotionally driven.


* Promote the professional development of the nursing team. Leaders must also continue their professional development by earning advanced degrees and certifications and serving in professional nursing organizations and community activities.


* Lead by example. Be a role model, coach, teacher, and encourager. Connect your heart, knowledge, experience, critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and decision-making to achieve the nursing team's goals.



Being a leader means having a strong foundation in building relationships and teams to bring tasks to fruition. Strategies that you can use to show you value people include, but aren't limited to, spending time with them, actively listening, publicly acknowledging individual and group accomplishments, communicating in a timely manner, being equitable, respecting and appreciating diversity, and providing them with the tools and resources they need to showcase their best work.




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