By Rose O. Sherman, EdD, RN, FAAN
In his new book, Leader Shift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, John Maxwell discusses the need for leaders to change their leadership to fit new circumstances. He makes the important point that you cannot be the same, think the same or act the same if you hope to be successful in a world that does not remain the same. This requires a commitment to continually learn, unlearn and relearn. It also means that while we might value what has happened in the past, we cannot live there. It also means that while we may live in today, we have to think about tomorrow before it arrives unannounced.
There are some nurse leaders who feel challenged by having to make these leader shifts. They yearn for simpler days, a more loyal workforce or a work environment that did not require them to spend so much time focusing on the needs of others. They want to point to past career achievements in a world demanding that we prove how we add value every day. They don’t take the time to realize that the nursing workforce has changed and so too must they. In healthcare as in other industries, we are quickly moving to 50% of the workforce being Millennials so they are in essence the new workforce and will soon be joined by Generation Z. From a practical standpoint, you need to bend because you have no choice – your positions will sit vacant in this competitive job market.
In this work, Maxwell points out some essential changes that every leader must embrace. A few that seem very pertinent to nursing include:
- From a soloist to a conductor – this requires a recognition that the potential of the group is greater than the individual. You need others and must make the effort to understand their needs. You must want them to shine more than you do and put staff in a position to win. As a leader, you must focus on how you can add value to the team and give without keeping score.
- From goals to growth – improving yourself is the first step to improving everything else. While goals may help you do better, it is growing as a leader that will help you to become better. This means that you adopt a teachable spirit and embrace continuous learning.
- From pleasing people to challenging people – to grow others, you must value them as much as you value yourself. Insist that others are accountable for their actions. Be willing to ask tough questions and have difficult conversations when they are needed. Be at peace that not everyone will support your efforts but spend time with those who do.
- From maintaining to creating – leaders today don’t have the luxury of maintaining the status quo. You must constantly be collecting new ideas, questioning your assumptions and analyzing your failures. Maxwell advises that leaders should live on the other side of yes – that is where there are abundance and opportunity.
- From ladder climbing to ladder buildings – at some point, leaders need to move from climbing ladders to holding the ladder for others to advance. How high can others go with a little help from you to build their own ladders? Leaders should always look to build value in others.
Making leader shifts in your career will be critical to your career success so embrace them as a necessary part of your journey.
Read to Lead
Maxwell, J.C. (2019). Leader Shift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace. New York: Harper-Collins.
Rose Sherman’s new book – The Nurse Leader Coach: Become the Boss No One Wants to Leave is now available for pre-order. It will be released on February 18th, 2019.
© emergingrnleader.com 2019