"Is your manager a leader? What skills define leadership?"

  1. We hear about leadership a lot. What is it? Is your manager also a leader?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   hoolahan
    I know this will sound very cynical, but I think very few managers are actually leaders. I think a leader is someone sets a standard, a quality that others aspire to reach in excellence, a problem solver.

    Unforntunately, in my limited runs in management-type positions, I was very dissappointed to find that nobody cares if you want to be a leader, the higher ups usually prefer "yes" men or women. I am not in any way saying all managers are not leaders or good at what they do. Just that the few I have seen who actually consider themselves a part of the same team as their staff, are usually given major grief by their higher ups.

    I think that if I want to be a leader, I am better off at the "bedside" (of home health currently) as a mentor, or someday as a nursing instructor, a role model, rather than a manager. A manager has to do the yucky stuff like decide who will have to work Christmas, making schedules, etc... Not much need for leadership there. Now maybe the nurse managers who pitch in and help at the bedside have a good mix of both, but it is really a very delicate balance to achieve.
  4. by   live4today
    Like Hoolihan, I believe that it is next to impossible for good managers to survive the corporate structure unless they are kissing mega butt in the process. The 'good' managers that I have met usually never make it unless they choose to kiss a lot of corporate butt while trying to maintain an ounce of respect from their staff at the same time. One or the other usually loses out to some degree, but that's how the corporate world is, I'm afraid - a cut throat operation all the way. So sad.
  5. by   ohbet
    AT OUR HOSPITAL,SOME STAFF HAD CONCERNS IN REGARDS TO COMMUNICATION ISSUES AT THE HOSPITAL. 2 OF US SET UP AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE DON. WE EXPRESSED OUR CONCERNS,SHE LISTENED ,TOLD US WHERE SHE WAS AT AND DID HER BEST TO MET OUR CONCERNS AND TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES WITH IN HER POWERS,ITS A STATE JOB. NOW THAT TO ME IS A MANAGER,WHO IS A LEADER.
  6. by   pebbles
    A big peeve of mine is that in nursing, the people they hire as managers may be experienced nurses, who have a Master's degree in nursing or something else.... but these people do not necesarily (and often don't) have any experience or training in *management*!!!

    Concepts of empathy, feedback to staff, giving even negative feedback in a positive way, professional communication from superior to subbordinate... these are all things that get left by the wayside at my hospital. Some of the managers gossip about other nurses right along with the ward staff!

    Our manger is definitely NOT a leader - she avoids making management decisions at all costs, trying to make us come to a consensus and telling her what we want - which does not work all the time, especially on "hot-button" ward issues. And then at other times, she is a power-hungry dictator, and does not listen to the input of nurses. This is not leadership either, in my book.
  7. by   Stargazer
    I started answering this question, but it was such a long, flowery valentine to my current boss that it was too embarassing to post!

    Suffice it to say that my manager has all the best qualities mentioned below and none of the bad. If everyone had a manager like her in their unit, we'd have a lot fewer nurses leaving nursing. In fact, I had another great manager at my last hospital job and it wasn't until she got promoted and replaced with a TERRIBLE manager that I finally left, too.
  8. by   RNed
    Is your manager also a good leader ?

    I have a good manager, however I do not believe she is a good leader. I distinguish management and leadership with different characteristics.

    Today, I believe it to be difficult to be both in our current health management style. What would be the characteristics and behaviors of a good leader is supressed by the style of management demanded by the higher ups. Money as the major decision maker is the message sent to middle management and this stymies leadership behaviors.

    I identify more leadership people in private business than corporate or organized business.

    I believe this is a result of corporate buisness saying, " we want you to manage our people, it is we who will lead."

    I say I have a good manager. I do not fault her for not being a great leader. She must abide by the messages giving to her and that is, " do not lead, manage."
    Last edit by RNed on May 10, '02
  9. by   Jenny P
    I once had a male nurse manager who kept saying "I'm a manager, not a leader". He was following in the footsteps of one of the best nurse manager, mentor, leader, and NURSE that I have ever had the privledge to work with and for. A nurse leader is someone who leads or guides those that follow him/her, someone who sets a good example and influences their staff to excell in their area, encourages staff to explore their nursing talents and other skills, and will defend the actions of their staff for the good of the patients. A good leader sees each nurse and patient as an individual with their own needs, and will encourage the staff to do so also. A leader encourages staff to find their own solutions to problems and helps staff find workable solutions within the confines of the institution, budget, etc.
    A manager deals with the business affairs of the unit, taking charge of the staff to meet the institutions' needs (sometimes at the expense of the staff).
  10. by   fedupnurse
    A good leader is hard to find. They need , I don't know, charisma I guess. I had a wonderful manager a few years ago who was also a leader. She was one of us. She knew what we were going thru and had true empathy. She was a strong proponent of her staff. She encouraged us to do what was good for us professionaly and personally rather than what the higher ups wanted us to do (furthering education, blah, blah, balh). Our unit has never been the same since she left. She left primarily because those above her were doing things and were going to force her to do things like cut back staff that she didn't feel comfortable doing. Leaders are honest and have integrity. We haven't had a leader since. Managers yes, bu no one is a leader in our management team now.
    Good question!
  11. by   joannep
    I believe that good communication skills are the foundation for good leadership.

    Joanne
  12. by   fedupnurse
    ohbet,
    You're thread showed that those of you who initiated that meeting are the true leaders!!
    Keep up the good work!
  13. by   MHN
    Above all a manager should have integrety, honesty and be truthful especially if they don't know the answer admit it and then find the answer out.

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