CNO Roundtable 2021

Leadership Style

Q: Has your leadership style or management philosophy changed during the past year?

Ruby Gill

Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center

I tend to lead from behind, allowing time for others to weigh in before deciding. During this pandemic, I often found myself needing to make quick decisions to stay ahead of the situation, but the key was to still always keep stakeholders informed.

It has also been important for me to remain visible on the nursing units to provide reassurance to our staff. Rounding has helped me timely disseminate key information and follow up on requests. The past year was challenging, but I welcomed the opportunity to work outside of my comfort zone.

Karen A. Grimley

UCLA Health & UCLA School of Nursing

The pandemic reinforced the importance of things I believe are the bare essentials of leadership:

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  1. Show up and be present.
  2. Love what you do and let it show.
  3. Be inclusive and find ways to involve staff in problem-solving, especially in patient care challenges.
  4. Communicate clearly and often, using different media as appropriate.
  5. Be frank — don’t sugarcoat things, and if you don’t know, say so. Honesty shows respect and invites conversation that leads to solutions.
  6. Practice transparency and empathy.
  7. Remind people that fear is real, but being kind when people are afraid comforts all of us.

David Marshall

Cedars-Sinai

More than ever, I have been concerned about the wellbeing of our staff. I have probably been more connected with frontline staff than at any other time in my career as a leader. Early in the pandemic, I saw some good advice about connecting with staff to acknowledge their fear, let them know we care about them and communicate our plans.

We also had our professional development specialists round daily to provide the latest updates and listen to nurses’ concerns.

Robyn Nelson

West Coast University

I have not found that my leadership style has changed, but I have had to be sure I’m focused on the needs of my faculty and students. They need trust, stability, compassion and hope, which means more frequently communicating that I am here 24/7. I know that may not be best for work-life balance, but a pandemic makes any balance challenging!

Melanie Patterson

CHOC Children’s Hospital

I have become more flexible and encouraged new ways of conducting business. For example, we have figured out how to do many things remotely, and learned that we don’t have to physically gather in the same room to make decisions. Although “Zoom fatigue” is real, teleconferencing is more efficient, and certainly safer during a pandemic.


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