Being a manager gives you the opportunity to help create a positive work atmosphere. It is your responsibility to ensure the best care and smooth operations on your unit. To do that you need to have people on board and functioning at their best.
So how do you bring out the best in others? A good place to start is to identify the skills and capabilities in a person and enable them to use those skills to the best of their ability.
1. Your colleagues must know what you expect of them. Be the example, the role model so others will see what you expect of them. You are much more credible if you are doing what you are asking of others. The behaviors you demonstrate and accept and those you don’t reinforces what you expect of everyone.
2. Be supportive of your colleagues. If we want our colleagues to be the best they can be and provide the best patient care possible, then we should be willing to lend them a helping hand. We can do that by giving helpful suggestions.
3. Coaching is a regular personal interaction between the manager and an employee with a goal to reach optimal performance. It is a day-to-day process of helping employees improve their performance. Intervening regularly eliminates small problems before they become big ones.
Being a coach requires certain skills: decision-making, problem-solving, analytical thinking, active listening, motivation, mentoring, and communication skills.
How you coach is through giving feedback. Think about how you give feedback to your friends. It’s supportive and helpful. You have each other’s’ back. You don’t say things to be mean. If you give feedback with this framework in mind, you will help build a positive high performing workplace. It will build trust which is basic to any good relationship.
4. Positive reinforcement is important to encourage positive behavior. Look for people doing something right and provide positive feedback. i.e., “You handled that patient well. It was nice how kind you were, and it decreased his anxiety.” If feedback is done well and given for the right intentions, it helps build a positive environment.
5. If the behavior is not appropriate, it’s your job to provide feedback to correct it. When asked, managers and/or charge nurses admit that giving constructive feedback is not high on their list of favorite things to do. Participants in my management and charge nurse classes say they have difficulty giving feedback especially when it needs to be constructive criticism.
Because feedback is so important and is at the core of coaching, we will discuss it in more depth in the next blog.