I am interested in developing my leadership skills in the hopes of someday moving into a manager position and maybe even administration. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get started?
Wants to Develop Leadership Skills
Dear Wants to Develop Leadership Skills,
That is a noble goal and a very smart one. I have several suggestions for you. For starters, express your interest to your supervisor. Let her or him know that you are motivated to develop these skills and would welcome any assignments that would move you in that direction. These might include working on your department budget, staffing issues or a quality project. You might also volunteer to be a preceptor or do a department in-service on any topic. All of these things show your willingness to learn and grow. They will also allow you to gain valuable experience and insights into your own strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Self-awareness is any important trait in leadership!
I also recommend that you seek a leadership role though any professional nursing associations to which you belong. For example, consider chairing a committee or running for office. In other words, use your associations as training ground to learn progressive leadership. If you don’t belong to anything, consider joining the American Nurses Association or a specialty association such as the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses.
Consider joining and being active in the Association of Nurse Executives, an organization that is open to any nurse who either holds a leadership role or is interested in leadership as you are. When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Plus, this association is a great place to find role models and mentors. Read “In search of the right mentor.”
If you don’t yet have a graduate degree, make plans to pursue that as well. It’s never too soon to start preparing for your future. Read “Gearing up for management” for additional tips on moving forward toward your goal.