In their research, Gallup scientists found that people have specific areas where they have a greater potential for finding success, so they should focus on improving their strengths rather than their weaknesses (Rath, 2007). The results from my strength finder assessment showed that my top five themes are strategic, input, belief, empathy, and developer. For the most part, I find these results to be accurate. I am strategic in that I have a very logical way of thinking, and can adapt my thoughts to different situations (Rath, 2007). My second strength was the theme of input, and this is accurate in that I am inquisitive and am always seeking new information (Rath, 2007). I find that the belief theme is a very accurate strength because I have strong beliefs that guide my life and give it meaning (Rath, 2007). I also have a great deal of empathy, as many nurses do (Rath, 2007). Lastly, the developer theme fits me because I can always find and see potential in others (Rath, 2007). While I found these results accurate, they were not exactly what I anticipated or would have applied to myself. I hope to take advantage of these new insights into my strengths and build on them to become a strong leader.
Leaders must be grounded in a set of core values that guide their behaviors and leadership style and ensure they have the best interests of their coworkers at heart; otherwise, there is no real and effective leadership (Marshall & Broome, 2017). With that in mind, I need to identify my core values and work on strengthening them. I need to work on becoming more candid. I am often so concerned with others’ feelings that it holds me back from being frank and sharing my opinion. A leader must possess this ability, as leaders often have difficult situations with those under them, and must be candid. However, this must be offset with a certain amount of grace and kindness to ensure one does not come off as being overly harsh or rude. A second core value that I feel I could strengthen would be optimism. I have always been a very optimistic person, but over the years of being a nurse have become less so. Optimism is a value that is essential for a leader. It is essential to be optimistic to encourage those who are under you and keep their spirits high.
In Tom Rath’s book, he explains 34 themes leaders might possess where they are exceptionally talented (2007). The command theme is an area that I need to work on improving (Rath, 2007). An effective leader needs to be able to take command. I can do this, but I am more than happy to sit back and let others take charge. I do not like to impose my ideas on others. If it is warranted, I can take command, but it is my instinct to give others the chance to do so first. While I do not want to be pushy, I do need to work on strengthening my ability to take command. Another theme in which I would like to improve upon is the theme of being deliberative (Rath, 2007). Typically, I make decisions quickly and move on them without overthinking the situation. While this can be good, I do believe that as a leader, I need to work on weighing all the options and being more deliberate in my decisions.
A nurse leader’s characteristics not only affect those they lead but can also influence patient outcomes as well (Adams et al., 2018). This is just another reason why I must work on improving both my strengths and my weaknesses to become the best leader I can be. A leader must have a high level of self-esteem, or those who follow them will have a more difficult time believing in them. I could most definitely work on improving my self-esteem as a leader. Leadership is not a role I fall into naturally, so it is easy to second guess myself. I need to have more confidence in myself as a leader to ensure that others can place their confidence in me. Another characteristic I could strengthen is my engagement. A leader must be engaged to encourage those under them to want to become engaged. This is an area where I could improve upon, as I am not always the most engaged.
A leader must determine their strengths and their weaknesses so that they can play to their strengths and work on strengthening their weaknesses. In preparation for becoming a nurse leader, this is necessary for me to do. The strength finder assessment found my strongest themes to be strategic, input, belief, empathy, and developer. This offered me a new insight into my strengths and identified areas for me to grow. Two fundamental core values I would like to strengthen are my candor and optimism. Two strength themes I would like to work on improving are command and deliberative. Two characteristics that I believe would make me a better leader if I strengthened are my self-esteem and engagement. Improving upon these strengths will not only make me a better leader but a better person.
Adams, J., Djukic, M., Gregas, M., & Fyrey, A.-K. (2018). Influence of nurse leader practice characteristics on patient outcomes: Results from a multi-state study. Nursing Economics, 36(6). https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=8b99c48f-0f7d-4659-8209-df1a23be25df%40sdc-v-sessmgr03
Marshall, E., & Broome, M. E. (Eds.). (2017). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (2nd ed.). Springer Publishing Company.
Rath, T. (2007). Strengthsfinder 2.0 (1st ed.). Gallup Press.