Discussing Leadership Characteristics in Nurses

In today’s ever-changing environment, a concept of a fully engaged nursing leader becomes rather meaningful. It incorporates a set of characteristics, each of which is essential and works in combination with others. The fully engaged leader focuses on value-based organizational outcomes, supports care quality, and adjusts leadership styles. The most significant characteristics of such leaders include self-awareness, commitment to continuous development, value of others, and implementation of beliefs and values to routine activities. This paper aims at discussing the mentioned features and relating them to my supervisor and administrative team based on specific examples.

Characteristics of a Fully Engaged Leader

The first characteristic of self-awareness that takes into account the existing environment implies that an engaged leader should understand his or her strengths and weaknesses in relation to specific workplace situations. For instance, it is important to analyze critical events and identify a personal role in mitigating them as well as weak and strong sides of personality. By practicing passion through balance, these leaders should pay attention to changing environment, human factors, and trends emerging in the professional skill (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2018). For example, coaching or mentoring may be selected to assist others in coping with their emotions to promote compassion and openness to new ideas. Such behaviors as over-focusing on style or poor decision-making should be avoided as disruptive ones.

Second, it is critical to value attitudes and contribution of others to the field of nursing. An engaged leader should be creative, open, and supportive with regard to others, thus promoting empowerment in employees. It is especially important for nurses that they feel transparency in the organization and the sense of self-worth, which, ultimately, determine a leader’s effectiveness. Feedback, as the instrument to ensure empowerment, should be practiced by nursing leaders in order to answer questions and provide valuable notes to colleagues. At the same time, value to others may be expressed through compassion and empathy to nurses, which is important when they need to be understood by leaders (Duarte, Pinto-Gouveia, & Cruz, 2016). Any misunderstanding should be eliminated to prevent errors and reduced patient outcomes via a sensitive attitude. With regard to the mentioned characteristics, such behaviors as employment insecurity and inconsistent feedback should be avoided to enhance employee engagement.

The commitment to continuous development characterizes engaged leaders as proactive, motivated, and productive people who guide others on the way to the best care possible. Healthcare services develop constantly based on innovation, technology, and research, which makes it evident that nurses should implement new evidence-based interventions and report about their role in treating patients. Porter-O’Grady and Malloch (2018) consider that the role of leaders is to adopt, examine, and discuss these innovations through information synthesis and proper initiative formulation. Some serious risks, including a vague course of action and displaying inappropriate attitude should be eliminated by leaders.

The values and beliefs of fully engaged leaders should be applied to daily nursing activities since the latter need to be developed to ensure high quality care. As stated by Stokke, Olsen, Espehaug, and Nortvedt (2014), positive attitudes of nurses towards evidence-based practice correlate with its implementation. Therefore, engaged leaders should be oriented to achieving greater engagement of staff by focusing on the most relevant values and beliefs. In addition, an organization’s mission and vision should be assigned a top priority and be explained to nurses so that they can use them in daily services. The orientation to outside information or merely personal beliefs may be dangerous to engaged leaders since they should first consider patient and staff needs.

My immediate supervisor can be characterized as the leader who strives to become fully engaged – he is highly self-aware and emotionally competent yet lacks such vital criteria as valuing others. While understanding that continuous development is significant in nursing, he provides training related to innovation and evidence-based interventions, which is a positive aspect. However, he pays little attention to attitudes of nurses who try to add some value to the common cause. For example, several applications were offered to patients with diabetes to assist them in managing their health status. Instead of consulting with nurses and patients, my supervisor selected the application personally. As for the administrative team, its level of engagement can be assessed as moderate as not all of the four characteristics are present. In particular, nurses feel that their daily activities are not supported by the organization’s mission and vision statements. Even though they realize these issues, many nurses are unaware of how to implement them in practice. Since the administrative team promotes self-awareness, values others, and applies values and beliefs, it is engaged moderately.


To conclude, four key characteristics of fully engaged leaders were discussed, including value of colleagues, continuous development, self-awareness, and application of values along with beliefs. Specific examples illustrate that all of the mentioned points are important to the effectiveness of leaders, job satisfaction of nurses, and patient outcomes. In my organization, the supervisor and the administrative team lack one criterion, which shows their moderate level of engagement. This adversely affects the communication and understanding within the team and may lead to errors, thus impacting patient health.


Duarte, J., Pinto-Gouveia, J., & Cruz, B. (2016). Relationships between nurses’ empathy, self-compassion and dimensions of professional quality of life: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 60, 1-11.

Porter-O’Grady, T., & Malloch, K. (2018). Quantum leadership: Creating sustainable value in health care (5th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Stokke, K., Olsen, N. R., Espehaug, B., & Nortvedt, M. W. (2014). Evidence based practice beliefs and implementation among nurses: A cross-sectional study. BMC Nursing, 13(1), 8-18.

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