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How to suceed as a nurse leader

Nursing Times’ resident Happy Nurse Claire Westwood on becoming a great nurse leader.

The nine ‘C’s of inspired nurse leadership

Leaders are ‘born and not made’ it is said. In looking at great leaders in any area of life it can be seen that leadership often comes down to a few key skills that can be learned in order to inspire and influence others.

The 9 ‘C’s of inspired nurse leadership identifies the 9 key leadership skills that senior nurses need. If you are not in a leadership position they can be used to grow into a senior role. These skills will give you greater results in any life area – whatever level your role.

  1. Communication and negotiation

    As a leader you will need to be able to communicate your ideas, your vision, your instructions and your values to others. Being able to communicate with anyone, create rapport and get others on your side is crucial to leadership success. Look at ways to improve your rapport, and work on your speaking and writing skills to ensure you can clearly communicate with all levels.

    We all have times when we need to be able to influence others. I negotiation you need to look for the win-win outcome. This is a very effective way to get what you need. Look at the world from the other’s point of view and think what it is that they need right now, Then work our how you can both get an outcome that works for you.


  2. Clarity

    Most senior nurses feel overwhelmed with lots of different responsibilities and roles. Take time to clear the overwhelm. Learn how to say ‘no’ to some items. Look at which tasks produce good results and which meetings and activities do not work towards your key projects. Have a clear direction, communicate it to your team and peers and use excellent time management  systems to get more done in less time.


  3. Consistency

    A great leader needs to be consistent. Be aware whether you say one thing and do another or whether your actions are consistent with what you ask of others. ‘Walk the talk’, and expect others to do the same.


  4. Connection.

    As an inspired leader you need to be able to create connections with others, build a supportive network, influence and inspire others. Relationships are the life-blood of any team and success depends on having a good network and relationships that sustain you. Make this an important goal – to build your network, work with people you admire and spend time linking with other inspired leaders.


  5. Coaching

    Establish a coaching culture on your team. A leader who is able to empower their team and set great goals for themselves and their team is one with great staying power and engenders loyalty in others. Allow your team to take the lead sometimes and step up into roles that challenge them.


  6. Compassion

    Care for yourself and others. If you are a leader and a parent you will have some work-life balance challenges! Look at ways to find more ‘me-time’ and have more fun. Get your copy of ‘The Happynurses Guide to Creating a Balanced Life’ and start to find more balance and happiness.


  7. Courage and confidence

    To be able to lead others effectively you will have to ‘step up’ and challenge yourself and do the things that you will expect of others. Be aware of delegating the activities that you are scared of!  Take some time to learn tools and techniques to ‘step up’ ‘speak up’ and do what is necessary. Having a coach will help to support you through challenges, adds support and accountability and can be someone who has ‘already been there’ so you can tap into their expertise.


  8. Creativity

    If we do the things we have always done we get the results we have always got. Creativity is looking at challenges and your role in a new way. Look to other areas, businesses and experts for creative solutions. Identify your greatest skills and use them more effectively while finding others to support your weaker areas.


  9. Cheer!

    Learn to reward yourself and others for great results or just for doing things you find difficult. Get into the habit of complimenting yourself and your team. Make a point of thanking people and giving them positive feedback every day. This will increase motivation and morale as well as giving you a great ‘feel-good’ feeling.

About Claire

Claire is a qualified nurse and Master Results Coach. She is a speaker, writer, trainer and coach and is the author of ‘The Happynurses Guide to Creating a Balanced Life’.

For a complimentary personalised ‘Inspired Leadership Action Planning session’ (by phone or skype) email claire@happynurses.co.uk today!

Readers' comments (2)

  • Hi, I am a nursing student at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma—I need to find a "pen pal" for my classwork. If there is a student or practicing RN who would like to help please contact me on facebook. (communication reflects a weekly assignment as part of the course NURS 1003: Global Perspectives in Nursing) THANKS!

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  • Poor grammar and phrasing. Please improve this for future readers, especially an article on communication. My time is valuable and I don't want to spend it on something as poorly written as this. Thanks

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