Successful collaboration is the cornerstone of any industry, and healthcare is no different. Nursing leadership is embracing this by evolving toward a more inclusive, team-centric approach.
This approach blends the innate empathy of nursing with effective collaboration and is the best way to solve complex patient cases.
The core of collaborative leadership
Collaborative leadership is simply a style that gets everyone involved in the decision-making process.
Instead of someone at the top dictating to everybody else, all members of a team get to voice their opinions and contribute to the decisions being made. This approach requires a strong sense of trust and openness as well as the ability to manage any conflicts that arise.
Approaching things in this manner is better for team morale, but more importantly, it’s also better for patient outcomes. The problems patients face are often multifaceted and require diverse expertise.
Being collaborative when deciding on the best way to solve their problems allows for a much wider range of input and skills instead of the traditional top-down approach.
In addition to morale, collaborative leadership has other profound implications on team dynamics and work environments.
Instead of people waking up dreading going to work, they will feel motivated to show up every day because there are people relying on them who value what they say. It’s easy to see how this can lead to a successful work environment.
This very important skill is the one students strengthen when they obtain a post-master’s FNP from Rockhurst University online. The structure of the course allows students to move quickly and earn their second master’s degree in only four semesters, and clinical placement services are fully provided by the school.
The online format allows students to work at their own pace and in their own time as they continue to participate in the workforce.
Emotional intelligence and collaboration
Effective leadership isn’t possible without strong emotional intelligence. This is particularly true in the realm of collaborative nursing.
It includes the ability to comprehend and keep control of your own emotions while at the same time understanding and responding to the emotions of others. It often means putting your own feelings aside, and this skill is crucial for leaders who are aiming to get buy-in from their teams.
In terms of understanding team members’ emotions and motivations, you have to first recognize what drives each person.
What motivates them to work in this industry? What motivates them to work hard each day? This will differ for each individual, and leaders can tailor their approach accordingly. Employees are more likely to invest effort when they feel acknowledged.
Like any skill, this is one that leaders will need to continue to work on. It requires a conscious effort to be emotionally aware.
Active listening is one good technique to help, as is observing non-verbal cues to try and understand how people are feeling even if they’re not saying it outright.
Simply encouraging more opportunities for open dialogue can have a big impact here, too.
Communication and collaboration
For groups of people to collaborate, they all need to understand what the goals are and what everybody’s role is.
Currently, there’s no technology to read other people’s minds, so strong communication is the only way to achieve this. In an industry like healthcare, where things can quickly change when new information is revealed, communication is even more important.
Communication is not just about the specific words you use but also about how the team environment is structured. Does the team make use of various tools and technologies to allow quick and seamless information sharing?
Does the team have regular team huddles for real-time problem-solving? Regular feedback sessions are another important tool, allowing leaders to gauge team morale and address concerns promptly.
However, there are some challenges to consider. Hierarchical structures are common, and they can pose barriers. Cultural differences can also interfere with effective communication, as can even personal biases that may hinder the flow of information.
Overcoming these problems all comes back to the culture of the team. Leaders need to understand everyone’s motivations, communication styles, and any issues that could prevent them from communicating effectively.
Building and maintaining trust
Without trust, a team can quickly dissolve into disarray and inefficiency. People will have different incentives, and there will be no common goals that bring everyone together. A leader’s first task in building a strong team is to establish trust.
They need to demonstrate that they are competent, reliable, and have integrity. They need to also be transparent about their intentions and expectations while remaining consistent in all of these values over time.
If a leader does these things well, they will gain the trust of their team, but that doesn’t mean they can now relax. Trust is an ongoing process, and it needs to be continually nurtured.
There are some signs to look out for that trust is being eroded, like increased conflicts in the team or decreased productivity. You may also start to notice team members’ reluctance to share their ideas openly. Leaders need to get out in front of these problems to rebuild trust.
They can do this by acknowledging these problems, showing empathy toward those involved, and quickly coming up with solutions that leave everyone happy.
Another good way to reinforce trust is to navigate both successes and failures as a team. Celebrating achievements together boosts morale and can also strengthen the interpersonal bonds within the team. Taking a similar approach to failures can turn them into good learning opportunities instead of opportunities to assign blame.
Continuous education and collaborative growth
Like all areas of nursing and healthcare, continuous education is key. This is particularly true given how much healthcare can change from one year to the next.
It’s for this reason that leaders must not only keep one eye on developments in their field but should also inspire their team members to do the same. This could be as simple as regularly presenting opportunities for further education in team huddles.
Workshops and seminars that emphasize collaborative practices can also be instrumental in this regard. These platforms provide an opportunity for nurses to learn about what’s happening in their field as well as to grow their networks.
They also offer a forum for discussing challenges and brainstorming solutions, equipping nurses with new ideas that they can take back to their teams.
Collaborative leadership has a profound impact on the healthcare ecosystem. Its impacts touch not only the fulfillment of healthcare workers but also patient outcomes. Nurse leaders must prioritize and champion collaboration to create strong teams.