CNO Roundtable 2022
Rookie Mistakes and Pro Tips for Nurse Leaders
Doing too much, not asking for help, and not treating the team as individuals
What are some common mistakes you see from new nurse leaders, and what are some effective ways for managers to build a strong team?
Elizabeth Adams, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center
Too often, nurse leaders feel compelled to make changes early on, either due to internal pressure or an eagerness to implement their ideas. When making changes, it is important to listen, encourage feedback and partner with teams to achieve “buy-in.”
Another common leadership gap is failing to demonstrate emotional intelligence, either by overreacting or not being thoughtful in decision-making. The best way to build a strong team is to demonstrate that you care about your team as individuals.
Be clear about goals and expectations and encourage innovation and creativity. Monitor and measure outcomes in partnership, and celebrate what is right. Too often in healthcare, we diagnose what is wrong and forget to focus on the wins.
Lori Burnell, Valley Presbyterian Hospital
One of the ways we build group cohesion is by having a 15-minute safety huddle at 9 a.m. every morning. The agenda provides opportunities to identify potential high-risk areas and share both near misses and great catches. These huddles help to celebrate our leadership team’s moments of excellence and reaffirm our respect for safety, which should always be a top priority.
Anita Girard, Cedars-Sinai
Nurse leaders sometimes make the mistake of shying away from dealing with bullying behavior and lateral violence. Teamwork and trust in leadership are so quickly eroded in a hostile work environment. It is important to set clear guidelines for professional behavior. The best way to build a strong team is to set a clear vision and provide a strong organizational structure with well-defined roles so the team knows how to get things done and be successful each day.
Karen A. Grimley, UCLA Health/UCLA School of Nursing
A common mistake new leaders make is thinking that because they are in charge, they must do or touch everything. Sometimes, this is due to the excitement of the new role; other times, it may be due to an unspoken expectation they believe their supervisors or new staff have of them.
My advice to new leaders is to assume nothing. If you are unclear or something is new to you, never be embarrassed to ask. This becomes especially important as you take on more senior roles in an organization. Know yourself, know your strengths, and be willing to acknowledge what you might not be good at — and when you are tired. Ask the hard questions and involve your team in solving problems and crafting solutions.
Ceonne Houston-Raasikh, PIH Health Downey Hospital
A common mistake is thinking you need to give each team member equal amounts of time. On the surface, that seems like the fair thing to do, but the reality is that some people on the team simply need more development than others — and those individuals should get more of your time. It’s important to recognize each team member’s strengths and weaknesses and then invest the time necessary for their development.