I have heard it said that one is born a leader with inherent leadership skills. I have witnessed how my close friends have been nominated yearly and voted as class officers. But this pattern ended when we graduated nursing school and went into different fields. New leaders have emerged amongst us with some starting as charge nurses after only a couple of years in practice. This redefined leadership in a whole new perspective. I would say now that a leader can be developed over time. The qualities of a good leader are something that can be learned and developed. The competent leader is a product of her experiences and how she responds to them. This will be my guiding principle as I plan my career path in the years to come.
I have only been a leader in my current job for 6 years. I thought I knew a lot about my work and my organization. But until today, I can say that the American Association of Critical –Care Nurses (AACN) Nurse Manager Skills Inventory was an eye opener that I am not close to where I want to be. I learned that although my strength is The Art domain, there are still some subsets that challenge me to move towards the expert level. I have been on a consistent competent level on The Leader domain but not confident enough to put myself on the expert level. My greatest area of growth is The Science domain with emphasis on Financial Management. The realization that these domains rank from my strengths down to my weaknesses, respectively, will be my framework on how to target my professional development in order to advance as a leader.
I believe that in order to motivate myself to become a great leader, I have to focus on my strengths and my current abilities. As any situational leader, I start with what I have already proven and done. I have been able to lead process improvement with excellent outcomes in the past few years so I know that I have the ability to lead the people. The Art domain inspires me that I have the human relations and communication skills to influence the diverse team I work with. As I continue to be aware of myself and the impact of my attitude and behavior during any conflict and change process, my actions will spark my team to equally respond with trust. It is my role to reinforce their belief that they are all treated fairly and that their input is essential when decisions surrounding their work have to be made. It is only at this level that I can motivate them to come up with everyday lean ideas that increase their productivity.
The second domain I have to quickly focus myself into mastery will be The Leader within domain. While I continue to grow personally from the everyday experiences of my work, I will hold myself rooted to the fact that I am accountable in developing the growth of my team as well. My expert understanding on the potential of each individual in my diverse team will help me guide them in achieving their full potential. I am very inspired that my unit has produced 5 nurses since I interviewed them as Patient Care Technicians a few years ago. It is my ongoing staff development plan to keep the fire in