Why would Nurses want to be Led by You?

Nurses Why would anyone want to be led by you?  That is a question that nurse leaders rarely ask themselves.  If leaders are brutally honest in reflecting on their own strengths and weaknesses, they can probably find many reasons why nurses might not want to be led by them.  Developing yourself as a leader is a process.   You can and will make lots of mistakes.  Reflective questions like this one are important to help you frame your leadership journey so you become the kind of nurse leader that no one wants to leave.

What do Followers want in a Leader?

Successful leaders are unable to achieve goals without inspired and motivated followers.  We have all probably observed nurses who have been placed into leadership positions and had the formal title of leader but are not successful in capturing the heart and soul of those they lead.  John Maxwell in his book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership makes the important point that leadership is above all the ability to influence others.  We know from research is that key qualities that nurses look for the in their leaders include:

  • A commitment to excellence
  • Passion about their work
  • A clear vision and strategic focus
  • Trustworthy
  • Respectful
  • Accessible
  • Empathetic and caring
  • A commitment to developing others

Seeking Feedback from Followers

So how am I doing?  This is a pretty brave question to put out there to your followers when you are not sure what the response will be.  The only way that you will learn and grow as a leader is to ask your followers to give you feedback about what you could do differently.  Here are four good questions to ask your followers for feedback about your leadership style, communication and performance:

What should I keep doing as a leader?

What should I do more of as a leader?

What should I do less of as leader?

What should I stop doing as a leader?

If you receive enough feedback, you will see the trends in what you currently do well and where you need to improve.  The key here is to take the feedback and try to use it in a constructive way instead of trying to justify why you do what you do.  Leadership does not happen in a vacuum.  Goffee and Jones from the Harvard Business School who study followership offer good advice.  They point out that successful leaders are those that are able to modify their behavior to respond their followers  and the circumstances while simultaneously remaining true to who they are.


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