How to Advance from an OK Manager to a Great Manager

Nurse Managers are hired daily, and lots of nurses apply to be Nurse Managers. If you ask the staff what kind of manager they have? Many will describe their managers as OK; some will describe them as ‘terrible’ while others will call them ‘great.’ How does your staff describe you?
In this article, I want to discuss how you can advance from being just OK or terrible, to great.
Having worked with all sorts of managers in my nursing career; I have seen some common traits that make some managers stand out from the rest.

Being a manager or nurse leader is an honorable position. To become a great manager it often begins with your motivation.
What motivated you to become a manager? Do you genuinely like the responsibility of leading others?

Many nurses become managers for the wrong reasons
Some of these include: Being in a position of power and showing everyone how powerful you are.
These days if you want people to respect you, you cannot lead like a dictator. You have to be a servant leader, one who sees their position as a service to other nurses. The unit or department is not a kingdom that needs a king. It is a facility that needs everyone to work as a team, and the manager’s role is to inspire that team to excel.
Another wrong reason is to get more money. If that is your only motivation, it will be obvious because you will not have the heart to go any extra mile since your goal is a higher salary and nothing else.
Another wrong reason is hanging around with the bigwigs. Some people long to hang around with the company president, CEO, CFO and those with the big titles so they can name-drop in every conversation.
If this was your motive, you would not be a good manager because all you are concerned about is your ego.

The secret
The secret to becoming a great leader is to inspire your staff. When you inspire staff, you encourage and motivate them. You inspire people by showing them that you trust and respect them.
One great leader I had, always asked me if everything was OK on a weekly basis. She was always available to discuss any concerns. She had no favorites and treated everyone with respect.
Having lots of positive energy and a great attitude will inspire the people you lead. Connecting with your staff on an individual level will inspire them.
Many companies get leadership wrong by promoting the person with the longest experience or highest qualification.
Companies need to look at the individual’s leadership qualities. Are they respected by others? How do they interact with their colleagues? How do they handle stressful situations? Do they have integrity?
I have seen poor leaders literally kill a company or run it down. It is not a position to be taken lightly.

Delegate appropriately
Delegation and trust are what a great leader does. However, this delegation should be without favoring some workers and giving huge workload assignments to those workers you don’t necessarily like.
Use a system that is fair to all when delegating. This way, everyone can see that the assignments are thought out.
Favoritism and openly showing staff that you do not care for them will make you lose respect. This will kill the motivation, and people will only do the bare minimum.
I once had a leader who loved some nurses and openly disliked others. Those that were disliked referred to themselves as the ‘step-children’ and did the bare minimum because they knew that no matter how hard they worked, they would never be appreciated.

Communicate your expectations clearly and listen to what your staff has to say.
Communication is a two-way street. If you find that you are the only one speaking, then there is a problem. The other part of communication is listening.
A great leader takes his or her time to listen to the staff.
Avoid being too busy to listen.
Listening to staff issues is one main reason you are a leader or manager in the first place.
Listen and make good judgment. There is nothing as bad as a leader who listens to the staff then goes ahead and makes terrible decisions. This kills morale and encourages poor performance.

A great leader is a good teacher.
If you ask your staff to take on a task, make sure it is something you can do yourself. As a leader, you are a teacher, and if your staff has any questions, you should be in a position to mentor them.

Leave a Legacy
Make it your mission to leave a legacy.
Let other nurses emulate your leadership style because you are a Great Manager.


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