Jul 25 / Sarah Bell

Emotions and Leadership in Nursing: Empowering Through Feedback

As a nurse, I have always been acutely aware of the significance of emotions in the workplace. Emotions can serve as powerful guiding forces, driving us to make decisions and take actions that shape the care we provide to our patients and the way we lead our teams. However, it is crucial to strike a balance between acknowledging our emotions and allowing them to dictate our decision-making processes. I learned this lesson through a personal experience that completely transformed my perspective on giving feedback and its role in effective leadership.

Fear has always been a familiar companion to me, especially when it came to giving feedback. I dreaded the thought of hurting anyone's feelings or damaging team dynamics, so I often avoided confronting performance issues. This avoidance only led to bigger problems down the line, but I couldn't seem to break free from my emotional restraint.

One day, a team member approached me and asked what they could do to improve their performance rating. This simple question caught me off guard. Suddenly, I realized that feedback was not about criticizing or finding faults, but an opportunity to empower and support growth. It dawned on me that feedback could be a gift when delivered with genuine intention and care.

Shifting my mindset was the first step. I decided to view feedback as a means to help individuals flourish rather than pointing out their shortcomings. I also recognized that constructive criticism didn't mean tearing someone down; instead, it could be an avenue to build them up and achieve better outcomes together.

With my newfound perspective, I began incorporating empowering language into my feedback conversations. I started by acknowledging their efforts and strengths before addressing areas that needed improvement. This approach allowed my team members to feel supported and encouraged, making it easier for them to receive and act upon the feedback constructively.

As I continued to practice this approach, I saw remarkable transformations in the team. The fear of feedback dissipated, and a culture of continuous improvement and growth emerged. Nurses became more open to self-reflection and embraced opportunities to learn and enhance their skills.

I want to share a resource that deeply resonated with me during my journey of growth: an article by Marshall Goldsmith titled "Try Feedforward Instead of Feedback." This article provides valuable insights into a forward-looking approach to feedback that aligns perfectly with the empowering mindset I adopted. It emphasizes focusing on future actions rather than dwelling on past mistakes, which can be incredibly motivating and uplifting for individuals seeking improvement.

In conclusion, emotions play a fundamental role in nursing leadership. Acknowledging our emotions is essential, but we must not let them hinder us from doing what we know is right. My experience with feedback taught me that empowering language, a supportive mindset, and a focus on growth can transform the way we lead and cultivate a positive and progressive work environment.

As I continue on my leadership journey, I am passionate about sharing these insights with fellow nurses and leaders. To delve deeper into understanding your leadership potential and the role of emotions in leadership, I invite you to take my free online course, "Unlock Your Leadership Potential with the Energy Leadership™️ Index Assessment." Together, let's create a culture of empowerment and growth that elevates both patient care and the nursing profession as a whole.
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