6 Things Savvy Nurse Leaders Do Differently

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Becoming an effective leader is a goal that many people strive for. An effective leader helps their organization become more successful because of their effective leadership skills. Take a look at some of the most successful nurse leaders you can think of. What do you notice about their unique leadership qualities?

Read the following tips below to learn the six things that savvy nurse leaders do differently and understand how you can incorporate them into your professional career.

1. They are great role models.

An effective leader who is a great role model will have a good following. Their followers and those who report to them aspire to have similar leadership skills and look up to their leader. Those around the leader listen to them because they believe in what they have to say and enjoy their effective leadership skills. Being a great role model means that you take actionable steps to improve the organization and help those around you.

2. Effective leaders provide support to others.

Effective leaders do not turn people away. A great leader provides support to those around them by providing their time, teaching others, listening to what others have to say and motivating others to be the best that they can be. They look to fix problems and help others who may be having issues as well. They are usually not self-centered and try to increase the productivity of the whole team, not just what they have direct control over. They want everyone to succeed, not just themselves.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

3. They are passionate about their position and their team.

Being passionate about your team and what you do will make a leader more effective. If you really care about what you are achieving, as well as everyone else at your organization, then you will probably be trying harder to help the organization reach its goals. Also, when others on your team see and notice that you care about what you do, it will most likely lead to more people respecting you and your decisions because they know that each decision you make is something that you have thought long and hard about. Passionate people make the day fly by at work and it shows.

4. An effective leader listens to others.

A leader who is effective listens to what others have to say and does not put down those around them. The leader may not always be correct and knows they need to listen to other opinions to see what all possible options are. An effective leader allows others to contribute for the well-being of the team. New contributions can be very helpful to an organization. An outside view can change everything because you are allowing more minds to take part in decisions. You never know if that new idea can completely change health care for the better.

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5. An effective leader allows for creativity.

Those who report to you should be allowed to act creatively to a certain extent (while still maintaining professionalism, of course). If no one is thinking outside of the box, then that is not a good situation for an organization: you want your followers to be challenged and to come up with novel solutions. If your followers and those who report to you are not thinking creatively, then you may be stuck making the same mistakes and not growing.

6. They learn from their mistakes.

An effective leader does not continue to make the same mistakes if there is no progress being made. They realize when something is not working and know not to continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. They then learn from their errors and make changes so that they can be productive and successful.

What effective leadership traits have you seen? Have you had success emulating them? Let us know in the comments.


Be kind. Take care. Stay connected.





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Dr. Renee Thompson works with healthcare organizations that want to overcome the leadership and clinical challenges their people face every day.

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3 thoughts on “6 Things Savvy Nurse Leaders Do Differently”

  1. Louise Houston

    You are so right! We need to teach nurses to lead. I espouse to the Servant/Leader model. One other caveat for leadership is to serve those you lead. This practice helps those who follow see you as someone who wants every member of the team to succeed. Greenleaf wrote a couple of great books on the topic.

  2. Louise Houston

    I agree we that do need to teach nurses to lead. I would add another characteristic to your six. I espouse to a method called servant leadership. When a leader serves those she is leading it establishes her a someone who has the success of the entire team as her goal. It requires humility to serve those you wish to lead. Greenleaf has written a couple of good books on the topic.

    1. Renee Thompson

      Thanks Louise. I also believe servant leadership is the answer. I wish we had more humility among our leadership. Thanks for the tips on Greenleaf!

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