Inspiring Leaders

Submitted by Jennifer Kinneret Ron, BSN, RN, CPAN

Tags: Authentic leadership conflict resolution inspiration leadership leadership in nursing

Inspiring Leaders

Share Article:

Manager and leader are terms often used interchangeably, however there is great difference between the two.  A manager provides direction to employees, while a leader inspires employees with a vision (Borkowski, 2009).  The assignment to a managerial position does not automatically make someone a leader.  My vision of a nurse leader is one who displays adaptability, authenticity, and supportiveness. 

Adaptability is described as flexibility and comfort with turbulent change.  The adaptable leader is change-oriented, proactive, creative, and willing to take risks (Dries & Pepermans, 2012).  Today’s healthcare is fast-paced, requiring experimentation with new approaches to keep up with technological transformations (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2015).  Porter-O’Grady and Malloch (2015) relate successful adaptation to reading the signposts within the organizational environment to sense and anticipate the need for change, with subsequent strategies implemented for organizational advancement.  

Authentic leaders are cognizant of their personal beliefs and values.  They use self-reflection to develop a leadership style consistent with their personality and character (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2015).  Authenticity requires the ability to recognize and accept one’s own strengths and weaknesses, not attempting to cover up self-limitations (Wong & Giallonardo, 2013).  Trusting relationships develop as the leader openly shares information, remains truthful, and encourages employees to express their ideas and concerns (Wong & Giallonardo, 2013).

Supportive leaders display concern for their employees, recognizing adverse working conditions can negatively impact both physical and psychological well-being (Schmidt et al., 2014). Effective leaders support employees during difficult situations, decreasing work-related stressors (Schmidt et al., 2014).  Employees who feel supported tend to be more motivated and express increased job satisfaction (Borkowski, 2009).

Adaptability, authenticity, and supportiveness are attributes that lay the foundation for one’s leadership practices.  These basic attributes are further utilized and portrayed through the leader’s decision-making style, conflict resolution skills, and negotiation skills.  Leadership practices have the potential to positively or negatively affect employee satisfaction and retention (Schmidt et al., 2014).  Therefore, an effective leader helps lead their staff through change, while supporting their concerns and discomforts (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2015).  As a future nurse leader I hope to inspire others, develop trusting relationships, and encourage continuous learning and professional advancement. 


  1. Borkowski, N. (2009). Organizational behavior, theory, and design in health care. Sadbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
  2. Dries, N., & Pepermans, R. (2012). How to identify leadership potential: Development and testing of a consensus model. Human Resource Management, 51(3), 361-385. doi:10.1002/hrm.21473
  3. Porter-O’Grady, T., & Malloch, K. (2015). Quantum leadership Building better partnerships for sustainable health (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  4. Schmidt, B., Loerbroks, A., Herr, R. M., Wilson, M. G., Jarczok, M. N., Litaker, D., ... Fischer, J. E. (2014). Associations between supportive leadership and employees self-rated health in an occupational sample.
  5. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21, 750-756. doi:10.1007/s12529-013-9345-7
  6. Wong, C. A., & Giallonardo, L. M. (2013). Authentic leadership and nurse-assessed adverse patient outcomes. Journal of Nursing Management, 21, 740-752. doi:10.1111/jonm.12075