Anyone who has worked in a professional setting can tell you how important organizational culture can be. According to Forbes, “organizational culture is the collective result of how people on the team think and behave, their shared values and how they react to internal and external stimuli”. A cultural shift may be necessary when leadership is trying to implement change, such as increasing productivity or cutting costs.
What is values-based leadership? Values-based leadership creates a culture where the core values of an organization are clearly communicated and members are expected to behave in ways that fulfill the organization’s mission. These values should associate with employees’ personal values to create a strong connection to the organization and its mission. In order for this type of system to be beneficial, the leadership team must lead by example. Success is defined by how well the organization embodies the values as a whole.
In his book From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership, Harry M. Kraemer identifies the key elements organizations need to master. Here are three that nurse leaders can focus on when change is imminent.
Lead with Values
Start by identifying the core values of your organization or department. This is an opportunity to explore your true purpose and what you want to achieve because this value statement will guide how the system moves forward. In order to get employees to fully engage, these values should be authentic, realistic and communicated at every opportunity. A value based system evaluates success in relation to fulfilling values, not metrics.
Effective communication is a key factor for any team, especially in a hospital setting when it can affect patient safety. Do your staff nurses know what is expected of them? Set clear guidelines on the values, what is expected of every team member, and how they will be evaluated in performance reviews. But don’t just talk about these guidelines, put them on paper. Post them up where everyone can see, such as in the break room or the hallway bulletin board. Again, your team will follow your example so follow your own rules and stay positive. Find three real world examples in this presentation from the ANA Leadership Institute.
Talent Management and Leadership Development
This element comes back to the ever important hiring and retention of the right employees. Once your organization embarks on a cultural shift, it’s more important than ever to hire employees who will be engaged and “buy in” to the system. Disengaged employees will not benefit a value-based system, and can contribute to diminished quality of care. Make sure to ask strategic questions around your values and how you expect them to be met during the hiring process. Once your team is adequately staffed, it’s important to offer the right professional development opportunities, as well as empowering your team to make decisions. This creates a feeling of accountability for individuals, which can increase their desire to contribute to the overall success of the organization.
Change is difficult, especially when it requires a behavior change. Managers who lead by example are invaluable to a successful value-based system. If nurse leaders emphasize core values, effective communication and team cohesiveness the organization can achieve results.
As a nurse manager, patient centered care is one of your top priorities. Want to make sure your team is meeting all the criteria for patient satisfaction protocol? Download our Ultimate Patient Satisfaction Checklist for Nurse Managers.