Leadership has no single definition; however, there is no doubt that effective leadership is needed for a certain organization or group to function as one unit towards one specific goal. This does not only hold true for politics and government. It also applies to many different fields that have a structure of their own. Without a leader, that structure will ultimately collapse and lead to a wide range of administrative problems.
The Leader Life
Leadership takes up many different faces depending on the nature of the field it is in, but its process is relatively the same. Leaders provide guidance and direction, and it is their responsibility to make sure that the group they are leading works to achieve one goal with minimal to zero issues. Effective leadership requires a certain skill set that can be mastered through time, discipline, training, and experience. One of the core skills that a leader should have is prioritization.
There are several things that a leader needs to take care of daily, and there is only so much that can be done within the day. Successful leaders overcome this challenge by knowing and deciding what matters most and what needs to be dealt with immediately, and this important decision is made the night before another workday starts. According to American author and leadership expert John C. Maxwell, planning the night before is the first step in achieving leadership success, and this is further broken down into two processes, namely (1) reflect on today and (2) plan for tomorrow.
Reflecting at the end of the day helps a leader recognize the highlights and challenges that took place, the people helped, the lessons learned, and the moments where his best was given. This evaluation of the day will then jump-start the planning for the next day. These two processes work together in that one ignites the other, and therefore cannot work on their own. Maxwell further states that a leader should not prioritize his entire life, he should focus on what he wants to happen within the day instead.
Asking the right questions is another skill in effective leadership. This encompasses the wide range of responsibilities that come with spearheading an organization. A leader must at least have basic knowledge of what is done in the frontlines to be able to ask the right questions. When a leader knows how the hard work is done, he would be able to ask questions about basically anything that can improve the process and help the people who take care of it. He would be able to anticipate anything that could go wrong and formulate solutions without compromising either the quality of the work or the well-being of his staff. A leader who knows the ins and outs of the most basic process of the job he is assigned to direct can circumvent anything that threatens it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to adding value to people and that can only be done if the right questions are asked and the right solutions are implemented.
Change is the only constant, and in leadership, that change comes in the form of learning. Organizations undergo continuous little alterations over time that lead to significant evolution. To keep up with this significant evolution, a leader should always strive to learn. Regardless of the line of business a leader is in, it is his inherent obligation to stay updated with the changes in his respective industry. The continuous education of the leaders plays an important role in their decision-making because updates affect the way certain processes should be implemented, and therefore adjust the organization’s course of direction.
It takes great discipline and presence of mind to become a successful leader and that discipline can be developed through careful planning, constant evaluating, asking the right questions, and non-stop learning.
Being Nurse Leader
The healthcare industry is a very demanding line of business to get involved in as it deals with people’s lives. Being a leader in this industry not only requires high educational attainment in medicine but also a set of qualifications that are not normally compulsory in other businesses. Being a nurse leader has changed through time in that there are new considerations to take into account. In the olden days, staffing and safety of both patients and staff top the priority list of nurse leaders among other obligations like strategic planning, goal setting, and cost control. Today, where customer satisfaction has completely become the lifeblood of business, patient surveys and hospital evaluations pile up to the already endless heap of tasks nurse leaders need to complete.
In order for any organization to become successful, hiring the right talent is essential. This goes as well for healthcare. Nurse leaders have the responsibility of making sure that their staff is well-trained and reliable for the designation as the job itself can pose a great deal of danger to both the patient and staff when certain tasks are done carelessly or incorrectly. In addition, the hospital can be a toxic workplace as it is essentially a battlefield of life and death; therefore, its staff is always at high risk for burnout. Nurse leaders are there to ensure that their staff is always engaged and properly and amply distributed in their workstations. With well-planned staffing and a contingency plan in place in case of emergencies, hospital personnel may not be required to work double shifts that could take a toll on their health and cause a damaging blow on the patient satisfaction. Aside from making sure that the right and qualified people are hired, nurse leaders take care of their staff so that they can take care of the patients.
Nurse leaders also have a role in finance, and their responsibility lies in good coordination with their finance team. In order for a hospital to run smoothly, its resources should be properly inventoried and allocated. Like any other business, medicine is fueled by money. As nurse leaders are to provide guidance and direction to their staff, they need to carefully oversee their portion of the hospital budget to be able to strategically plan their activities according to organizational goals.
Being a nurse leader is a big responsibility as it calls for constant attention to many different things at once. With this, it is crucial that nurse leaders maintain a clear head and devise a way to make everything less overwhelming.
Leadership grants one a huge responsibility emblazoned in a certain type of power. It is a kind of obligation that not everyone is made for as it requires unshakable discipline to grow and maintain. Nurse leaders have a particularly heavy yoke on their shoulders as they are responsible for not only the lives of those directly under them but also for those that come under the care of those they supervise. With a responsibility of almost biblical proportion, nurse leaders tend to become anxious about so many things that can ultimately affect their judgment on most crucial times. While anxiety is a fairly natural response to stressors, it is still better if it is kept at bay. After all, healthcare is an industry that does not sleep. In order to keep up with it, alpha RNs should always be at the top of their game.