Nurse managers are in a difficult position and often feel like they're between a "rock and a hard spot" because they are caught between upper management and the staff that work under them. It's a challenge to balance the two, but nurse managers who succeed are the ones who have discovered this delicate balance. They have the ability to make both parties happy, which is not always easy.
On one hand they have upper-management that is demanding they cut hours, watch the budget and staffing. And on the other hand they have nurses and other healthcare staff that rely on them for guidance on everything from protocol to scheduling.
How do you meet the needs of both and still maintain your sanity? One of the main characteristics of an effective and successful manager is the ability to negotiate. When you're a leader, you have the tough job of dealing with complex issues as they arise and the ability to negotiate with people gives you an advantage. People can't always have what they want and it's your job to negotiate with them and make a plan that makes everyone happy. Sure, you can't make everyone happy all of the time. But a good nurse manager can achieve this goal most of the time.
The nursing profession is unfortunately plagued with a lot of bad nurse managers and if you've ever had the pleasure of working under one of these gestapo-like control freaks, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's a horrible experience just to get through one lousy day under this type of management.
How do you become a good manager? and what are some of the traits and characteristics that make an awesome nurse manager?
Here are the the main traits that make a great manager and for the love of God, if your don't have any of these traits, either start learning them or just get out of management:
1. Attitude is everything
Be a great leader by setting a great example. People follow your lead and if your have a negative vibe, others will follow suit. Be positive and give others a reason to follow your positivity. Attitude is highly contagious! If you're negative Nelly you will quickly succeed in bringing the staff morale way down.
2. People Pleasing Needs to Go
You cannot worry about pleasing everyone if you're going to be a good manager. inevitably you will have people who don't like you or the way you lead. It goes with the territory and you have to learn to make some pretty tough decisions at times, knowing that you won't make great friends in the process.
Be honest and don't sugarcoat things. People will respect you more in the long run, even though they may not like all the decisions you make.
3. Motion not emotion
leave your emotions out of your work life. Great managers are able to control their emotions. You are representing the company you work for, so you need to demonstrate maturity. Avoid gossip and don't get involved in the lives of your nurses and healthcare staff. Keep it professional, but remain calm and even-headed.
4. Be Flexible
A great nurse manager knows how to be flexible and can comfortably deal with change. Realize that people rely on you for all kinds of advice and suggestions throughout their day. They trust that you will be able to guide them in the right direction and help them attend to their duties in the correct manner. Don't be afraid to roll up your sleeves and help. The minute you think you're too good to help others is when you will be creating your own demise. Stay humble and your will earn respect in many ways.
Your staff are a direct extension of you. So you can't expect them to be accountable when you aren't. Deal with problems as they arise. When you don't, most issues get worse and you still have to deal with them in the end. Ccommunicate often with your staff and be clear about what your expectations are. Keep them focused on important tasks and praise them when they do things right. One of the biggest complaints employees have is that their bosses don't reward good behavior, but as soon as something bad happens they're quick to notice and discipline them.
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