Striking a balance between exerting control and leading a team with wisdom is crucial for any leader; being a nurse leader is definitely not an exception. Being in a position that provides an individual with certain control and authority over others can lead that individual to behave in a manner that might be considered as imposing.
As such, here are some tips for nurse leaders to lead their team effectively without coming across as bossy:
1. Focus on using the right language and intonation when giving orders/instructionsOften, it is not the content of what nurses say that gives others the impression that they are being forceful or bossy; rather, it is the way in which their words are phrased. When giving instructions and orders, it is important for the nurse leader to pay close attention to their tone of voice as well as their choice of words. This can make a big difference towards how the other party interprets their message, thus influencing reactions and responses.
2. Collaborate with members of the teamA good leader is someone who values the input of other members of the team. It is vital for nurse leaders to seek and welcome input from the nurses in their team. Healthy collaborations can only be achieved when all members of the team feel comfortable in communicating and voicing out their opinions, and an excellent leader knows that this is something that should always be encouraged.
3. Be transparentIn her book The Growth and Development of Nurse Leaders, author Angela McBride highlights the importance of nurse leaders to offer reasons behind any decisions made, explain the necessity behind every action and provide appropriate context for those actions and decisions. This is part of the repertoire of characteristics that a transparent leader possesses.
Nurse leaders who make decisions and implement changes without offering the rationale behind these would leave team members feeling uncertain about the quality of decisions made. On the contrary, keeping team members well-informed will make them understand the situation better and increases the likelihood of eliciting positive responses from them.
4. Admit mistakesNurse leaders may wrongly perceive acknowledging their faults and mistakes as a sign of weakness, or have concerns that doing so will ruin their reputation as a leader. In reality, this shows that they are humble enough to admit their faults and aim to change; it also earns them the respect of their members. In doing so, they are also setting a good example of accountability and responsibility to their team members, encouraging them to do the same when they are in a similar situation.
5. Value each individualWorking in a fast-paced and demanding healthcare environment does not mean that close relationships cannot be forged between the nurse leader and team members. Being an excellent leader entails knowing each employee at a personal level and recognizing their strengths and potential. Cutting down the formality of the atmosphere not only can make employees feel at ease when communicating with their leader, but will also promote a healthy, positive atmosphere than can encourage higher productivity. MIMS
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 Loke, J. Chiok Foong. “Leadership behaviours: effects on job satisfaction, productivity and organizational commitment”. Journal of Nursing Management Volume 9, Issue 4 July 2001 p. 191–204. Wiley Online Library. Web.
 McBride, Angela Barron. The Growth and Development of Nurse Leaders. New York: Springer Pub., 2010. Print.