In the role of Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), there is a responsibility to foster team dynamics that create a cohesive and focused team environment. CNL’s exhibit leadership skills in nursing management daily. A CNL’s nursing management skill has the potential to do much good, as there are strong correlations between the quality of nursing leadership and improved patient outcomes.

Here are six techniques current and future CNLs can use to help manage an effective team.

Leadership Skills in Nursing Mangement: Participation is Key to Communication

A nursing team that doesn’t communicate well risks compromising patient safety and gaps in care. Ongoing communication is required, and this can include a strategy for inclusive participation among all team members.

Research shows that nursing teams with a high level of participation experience a range of benefits, including:

  • Increased well-being
  • Lower stress levels
  • The delivery of higher quality health care

One strategy for achieving consistent participation from team members is to hold meetings with a clear purpose in how they benefit service, and encourage all attendees to participate in targeted discussions towards that goal. Proactive communication showcases leadership skills in nursing management to the team.

Establishing Shared Values

All teams need a strong basis of shared goals and ground rules, and this can be taken further by establishing a set of values. These values can positively affect the team’s behaviors, skills and beliefs; conversely, a misunderstanding of values causes stress and conflict.

The power of shared values can be harnessed by listing the words on a visible display; they might include values such as confidentiality, honesty, and respect. To remove room for error, clarification can then be gained through the how/why technique, where team members are encouraged to break down high-concept values into concrete actions that conform to those values.

This set of values is not an activity that is done once; it should be followed up to allow the team to reflect and evolve.

Team Reflection

While it’s tempting to think that leading with action is the most effective leadership skills in nursing management strategy for a productive team, the opposite is true. The biggest indicator of a team’s effectiveness is its ability to reflect on the tasks, objectives, team culture and work processes.

This level of reflection then leads to a targeted approach toward the actions the team takes. A CNL needs to create opportunities for their team members to reflect on all aspects of their role. Some guided questions can help, such as:

  • What is working well?
  • What is not working well?
  • What can be done about it?

Support Toward the Team

There is growing evidence that a supportive nursing leadership style can build relationships that result in a happier, more engaged and empathetic team environment.

There are nine behaviors that are important in developing a supportive leadership style:

  • Show acceptance and positivity
  • Treat the team with politeness and consideration
  • Treat each team member as an individual
  •  Discover (and remember) details about each person in the team
  • Be patient while giving instructions
  • Be empathetic and supportive when a team member is experiencing challenges
  • Show confidence in the team
  • Give help when it is needed
  • Be approachable to help with personal challenges

Collaboration with Entire Care Team

Health care has long been subject to hierarchical structures which may not be very flexible. But it is important to break these down for effective teamwork between various disciplines. Such collaboration between all members of the care team can provide better outcomes for patients. In fact, in one hospital where a collaborative care model was implemented, fall rates were halved, length of stay was reduced and earlier discharges increased.

One way of accomplishing this is the creation of “collaboratories,” where everyone can work together to develop new learning techniques and care strategies that result in a truly interdisciplinary approach to medicine that capitalizes on the knowledge of each specialized practitioner.

Creativity and Innovation

Ingenuity is more necessary than ever before in clinical leadership and teams. Such innovation is the key to solving problems, both within the team and in the clinical practice setting.

A workplace culture that encourages and supports innovative thinking needs to be established, and this is achieved through intentional leadership that values creativity. Research shows that this high level of ingenuity then reduces the risk of safety and quality incidents as well as workforce shortages.

By mindfully crafting these skills and undertaking them in the clinical environment, CNLs can make a real difference to patients and the professionals who provide care to them. Learn more about the various leadership pathways for clinical care nurses.