Identifying a Leader - Healthcare

A leader is someone who can motivate a team and attain positive outcomes while striving for overall company success. A leader gains respect by listening to team members, knowing when to intervene, when to delegate, and when to allow others the opportunity to shine. A leader is a good manager with respect to compliance with policy and procedures. A manager is not to be confused with a leader. The leader has the ability to motivate the team towards the goals while gaining trust and loyalty from subordinates. A manager may function very well in the company and be able to remain compliant with deadlines and tasks, but a leader can implement change effortlessly with the appropriate team in place. 

Not everyone is cut-out to be a leader. Notorious leaders throughout history are often referred to as having a certain charisma that motivates people to join the team, focus on the goals, and follow that leader, sometimes without question. A leader must handle themselves suitably in difficult or trying situations, be accessible as a resource, remain fair and consistent with all subordinates, and communicate decisive expectations. 

Understanding the Role of the Leader

The role of the leader is that of authority. The leader possesses power and control over many aspects of the company. Leaders may not always be in a position of power. A good leader should recognize other leaders within the workforce. Situational Example: In the nursing home setting there are a few separate layers of management or positions of authority. Beyond these established roles, sub-groups are prevalent and easily identifiable. Each sub-group has an unofficial leader, but still a leader. This leader may not possess all the expected qualities of a leader but nonetheless, they have been established. Often seen in nursing homes are groups of nursing assistants that tend to migrate together in the workplace but not necessarily remain social outside of the facility. These are the groups that establish an unofficial leader. This leader will often represent the group in meetings or present issues to the department manager. The other nursing assistants often look to this person for direction and insight. It is very important for the designated leader in this setting (the department manager) to not only recognize the unofficial leaders, but respect them and utilize his or her talents for the better of the company. 

It is imperative for those reporting to the leader to understand the leader’s role and his or her expectations for the group, the company, and the people served. Encouraging staff to attend meetings, providing smaller more intimate meetings, being accessible to frontline staff are all examples of successful leadership strategies. Each leader develops an individual approach to managing the team, finances, projects, compliance, and success. The leader should feel comfortable sharing his or her philosophy with subordinates. This promotes understanding and team member buy-in on several different levels. 

Personal Philosophy

Insight A successful leader, an accomplished leader possesses and commands many qualities. Focusing on ensuring equality, flexibility, fairness, and stability to all employees is essential. One should endeavor to excel at tolerance, understanding, and team success. One should also fashion themselves as a dedicated, responsible leader with goal-oriented approaches to project management in attaining desired outcomes. Supporting the team and guiding no matter the result. If we do well, we all do well, and if we fail, we all fail. Health care is a difficult field as it is solely based around customer service and satisfaction. Many believe that if patients are satisfied and have a positive experience, they will heal faster and be more inclined to seek our services in the future. Healing the patient is often easy in comparison to assisting the family members. It is best practice and the obligation to the staff to provide problem-solving solutions, offer options to the staff and families, and manage the handling of all unsatisfactory clients. Leading by example which includes frequent staff education and participation in various roles within the confines of each person’s licensure and respective scope of practice. One should wish to inspire their employees to further their careers and expand their individual and professional knowledge bases. The future of health care dictates the need for competent staff and one should want to mentor as many future health care workers as possible to ensure standards of care are upheld. 


One should have expectations of teamwork, compassion, and commitment to the company mission. Punctuality, good attendance, honoring the code of conduct, ethical work habits, and exemplary patient care delivery are the main areas of importance to support my leadership philosophy. In order to lead a successful team, one should insist that trust be a mutual commitment on my part and that of the employees.  One should expect employees to trust that the their leader will lead them in the appropriate direction and within state and federal regulations.  One should be able to trust my employees will always treat the patients with the utmost respect and dignity. 

Building the Team around the Leader

It is best practice to that surrounding oneself, as the leader, with the most qualified and intelligent managers, is the best route to ensuring team success. Do not be threatened if someone is smarter than you as the leader, embrace it, develop it, you as the leader can learn from it. The leader should be able to look around the conference room table recognize the individual importance of each team member and know when to call upon a certain member for a specific project. Leadership is about focus and strategy. The leader needs to be selective when hiring or promoting a new team member. Ensuring the right person is in the right position is imperative to the overall team cohesiveness.


Adapting a culture to a team takes time and a clear understanding of the team members. In the nursing home setting, it has been found that each facility has a unique culture for both the staff and the patients. Changing culture is a project in of itself. A leader may need to personally adapt to the culture of the team and slowly work towards enhancing that culture or completely implement a new one. 

Developing Outcome-specific Goals

Establishing goals for the team requires a working knowledge of the desired outcomes and the capabilities of the team members. The leader may involve the team in identifying some or all of the goals and interventions to achieve them. A leader cannot work alone and encouraging team involvement in the planning phase accomplishes several beneficial items. The team derives a sense of belonging to the group, ownership of the project, approval from the leader, confidence in their knowledge of the subject matter, and trust of the leader. The leader can ensure desired outcomes by using the unique qualities that each individual brings to the team instead of being the end-all, be-all for options and decisions. Below are a few shared examples of goals that can an impace for any clinical team. The construction of goals can start basic and advance to extremely detailed depending upon the subject matter. A realistic goal is one that the team can achieve. Having unrealistic goals that are unattainable tends to decrease team morale and cause generalized discontent within the team and even the lead. Focusing on realistic goals, attainable goals that promote team success.  

 The nursing team goals are as follows: 

  • Our patients will have the most comfortable and welcoming living environment. 

  • All staff will understand Resident Rights and vow to uphold these for all those we serve. 

  • The staff will take responsibility for their own actions and vow to always provide services in the best interest of the residents. 

  • Staff will promptly report any violations of policy, safety concerns, resident grievances, and adhere to the chain of command for employee dispute resolution. 

  • Staff will be responsible for knowing their schedule and reporting to work as scheduled except for cases of emergency or unforeseen illness. 

  • Staff will be responsible for attending all in-service training sessions and providing the facility with copies of timely licensure renewals and continuing education credits. 

  • Staff will adhere to specific infection control precautions to safeguard the resident as well as the employee and co-workers. 

  • The team will achieve success in all areas of concern and vow to improve on the continuum of resident care. This will be evident in annual survey/inspection results.