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'Your enthusiasm and commitment will rub off on others'


Energetic leaders with positive attitudes motivate their staff, says Dickon Weir-Hughes

One important concept that leaders should try to promote within their workplace is excitement.

Without excitement the workplace can be dull, and staff will not be motivated to give their best. A good leader keeps the workplace alive with excitement, making it somewhere staff look forward to coming to.

As a leader, you should be enthusiastic about work and delivering your best. This enthusiasm and commitment will rub off on others.

To be excited, you need to possess a certain amount of energy, although not too much as overenthusiastic individuals can come across as inauthentic. A moderate amount of energy and positive attitude will encourage others to feel the same way and will result in a happier workplace.

Excitement is vital to change management. Healthcare is constantly evolving, and, as such, new schools of thought about the best ways of working are being implemented. This will involve change, which will unnerve some of the team.

If you approach change with a positive “can do” attitude, this will inspire others to adopt a similar stance. A feeling of excitement rather than dread about change will help you lead it.

There are ways you can foster excitement - having a complementary mix of staff who are extroverted and introverted. The former add excitement and a motivational atmosphere, while the latter may be daunted by this.

You have to get to know your workforce so that you can determine what makes them tick and get them to be excited about their day-to-day work.

Individuals have to be excited about their work. It’s unrealistic to think as a leader you can ensure this, but you can achieve this more if you allow individuals to change their normal working patterns or to lead on different areas.

This will make them excited and also help you to see your team gain confidence.

You can also think of new ways to deliver a mundane project.

Think about doing different things to inject more excitement into the workplace, such as a staff lunch or a team away day. These types of morale-boosting occasions help bring a team together and add excitement.

Lead by example - always make sure that you are excited about your role and the impact your efforts will have on the organisation and patient care.

You should be motivated and be able to express this. An excited team will be productive and effective in delivering the goals and vision you set.

This is an excerpt from Clinical Leadership from A to Z by Dickon Weir-Hughes. Available from

Bringing excitement to the workplace

  • Try and operate with sufficient energy and emotional expression to enthuse those around you
  • Remember the importance of balance. A leader who is too excited may have a tendency to cause stress in a team, but one who is too restrained can struggle to motivate. Think about how you can get the day-to-day balance right
  • Think about the changes you can make in your team’s roles and responsibilities to surprise and delight

Dickon Weir-Hughes is chief executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Before his appointment in 2009, Professor Weir-Hughes held
senior roles at Barking, Havering and Redbridge, The Royal and Westminster hospitals


Readers' comments (36)

  • I couldn't agree more with this article.Thank you for this.

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  • "Energetic leaders with positive attitudes motivate their staff", is this why the NMC and RCN are such shockingly poor organisations?

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  • Interesting stuff - has Professor Dickon Weir got the results of a staff survey at the NMC to back up his claims. We would expect that the level of staff excitement at the NMC must be sky high if this claim is correct.

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  • A good leader does not pontificate about leadership. They just do it!

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  • Does he live in the real world. Great idea "staff away days"..does this apply to clinical staff at ward level? Does he realize how difficult if not impossible it is to get time off for any sort of CPD? Also not sure what he is including in "mundane tasks"..hope its not "basic care" like for instance helping someone to the toilet or giving them a drinK...but then thats probably not exciting enough!!

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  • If this article wasn't so patronising, out of touch and, (given the dreadful staffing levels, attack on pay and conditions, low morale, etc.) inappropriate, it would be funny. I ain't laughing.

    Rank stupidity!!!!

    Create a positive work atmosphere by speaking out for Nurses. i.e. campaigning for government to pay us what we are due, protect our pensions, ensure that we have adequate staff/patient ratios and resources to actually do that work, etc. See how excited we get then!

    In the meantime, take your stupid staff lunches and away-days and..................!

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  • tinkerbell

    Mags well said. We're all swinging from the chandeliers at our place. Staff lunch, what's that? We hit the ground running when we arrive until we leave and are lucky to get a 20 mins break, never mind enough time to sit down and eat a meal. Most of us choking on the food whilst stuffing it down our throats to get back to the ward on time. Maybe if we had enough time to sit down and get a lunch we might have the 'energy' to get 'excited'. I am sure we are all passionate about what we try to do and excited would be nice too but where's the money for a staff lunch going to come from or an away day when we've been told we can have a unit meeting at the moment (how exciting) but not an away day as we will have to' work our way up to an away day', whatever that means. Do we have to do something particularly spectacular to work our way up to an away day?

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  • Too right Tink. Anyway, if we all went on an "away day", there's a good chance we wouldn't come back!

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  • Don't worry Mags and Tink, no one with any common sense pays much attention to what this patronising buffoon says. It is obvious he simply doesn't have a clue from his running of the pathetic debacle that is the NMC.

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  • tinkerbell

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