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Four Steps to Discover Your NP or PA Leadership Style

Posted on February 23, 2018   |   by   |   Career Development, Job Seekers, Leadership

Moving from the role of an experienced clinician to an APP leader is a brave and challenging undertaking. Along the way, your experiences will reveal both your strengths and weaknesses. Here’s how to use strengths to your advantage.

Be encouraged that even the most effective nurse practitioner and physician assistant leaders have shortcomings. They’ve just made the decision that will require them to develop strategies that build on their strengths and accommodate for their weaknesses. This small change of perspective can make a big difference.

If you’re starting out in an Advanced Practice Leadership role, read on for four steps to help develop your own effective leadership style.

First, Assess Your Leadership Strengths

Before you can capitalize on your strengths, you need to know what they are. We recommend taking three strengths assessments, then overlapping the results to uncover where you excel. You can find these assessments online for a small fee.

  • The Meyers Briggs Type Indicator – Meyers Briggs is one of the world’s most popular and respected personality tools. After you take this comprehensive personality test, you’ll be assigned one of 16 distinct personality types that most closely describes your natural preferences.
  • The DISC Assessment – The DISC assessment measures four dimensions of your behavioral style: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. There are many online versions of the DISC assessment, but most are affordable and will give you a sense of your unique blend of these attributes. Check out Everything DISC for more information.
  • Strengths Finder – Strengths Finder 2.0 began as a bestselling book by Tom Rath that helps people identify their talents and strengths and learn to “be more of who they already are.” This book and its accompanying online assessment help reveal your talents and areas of untapped potential. It is available at Amazon.

Taken alone or together, these resources will help you recognize your strengths. You might also ask trusted colleagues and friends for feedback, or conduct a self-assessment. Remember, there is no “right way” to lead, but some strategies are more effective than others. Knowing your strengths and being able to build upon them will translate into career success.

Next, Determine How Your Strengths Can Strengthen Others

When you know what your strengths are, you can capitalize on them. As you approach different leadership situations, think about how you will leverage your strengths.

Let’s use the example of a corporate board meeting. If you know that your strength is strategic vision and problem solving, maybe you’ll decide to focus on clarifying the problems and offering solutions. In the meeting, maybe you’ll spend the first fifteen minutes listening to your colleagues, followed by a few probing questions to get at the heart of the issue. Then you’ll offer solutions for the group to consider.

Plan to bring unique value to each situation, and you will increase your confidence as an NP or PA leader.

Then, Find Colleagues Whose Strengths Will Complement Yours

Now that you know how to leverage your strengths, let’s talk about your weaknesses. We all have them. Plus, the ability to recognize shortcomings in yourself is actually a strength! Great leaders focus on a successful outcome for the team as a whole – not just their own contributions.

Skilled leaders seek out colleagues with strengths that support their own areas of weakness. Consider what the nursing leaders, physicians, and APP leaders on your team do well. Is there someone who excels in an area that’s challenging for you?

For example, let’s assume you’re responsible for a big project. As a visionary and a creative thinker, you see possibilities that others miss. But, managing the details isn’t your thing. Identify a colleague who is excellent at managing complexity. Include this person on your team, divide and conquer, and you’ll be able to execute at a high level.

Great leaders foster mutually-beneficial relationships with other people and therefore achieve much more than they could alone.

Finally, Get Comfortable with Handling Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. Maybe it’s because we each have our own unique mix of strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives. We’ve all experienced a situation where conflict caused a breakdown in communication and a damaged work relationship. But, the upside of conflict is that when it’s managed effectively, it strengthens relationships and leads to greater trust in you as a leader.

To become skilled at conflict resolution, you really need to have a handle on your own strengths as a communicator. You can compensate for many weaknesses as a leader, but conflict resolution and communication skills are so critical, it’s well worth your time become skillful in this area. This might mean going to a seminar, picking up a good book, or interviewing someone whose leadership style you admire.

We recommend the following resources to become better at dealing with conflict:

  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In – Published over 30 years ago, this book has helped many leaders learn a better way to negotiate without letting their emotions take over. Find it here.
  • Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most: This book is a business classic and a New York Times For over ten years, leaders have learned to have tough conversations with “less stress, and more success.” Find it here.

Becoming an excellent NP or PA leader takes time, but the rewards are endless. We applaud you for taking the next step in your career development. When you know your leadership strengths, you’ll bring the best version of yourself to every leadership situation.

Lead Yourself to A New Career

I hope this information helps you thrive in your current job. But, if you think it’s time to start a job search, we’d love to help you!

Want to talk through job opportunities and get help identifying the right job for you? Feel free to send me an email at jill@melnic.com. We also invite you to create a free Melnic Profile. There is never a fee for candidates to work with us.

This Week’s Top Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Jobs

Our Melnic jobs board has NNP positions at some of the country’s leading hospitals. If you are an NP who is considering a change, take a look at some of these great job openings!

  • The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing has a great job opportunity for an experienced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner to teach at this leading School of Nursing in California.
  • In St. Petersburg, Florida, All Children’s Hospital is looking for a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner who will be responsible for the clinical management of NICU patients in this Level IV unit. This is a 12-hour shift, days position that offers a wide variety of opportunities for professional development.
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, also has an opportunity for a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in the NICU to provide direct patient care for critically ill or premature infants in the 40 bed, Level IV unit.
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a role for a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in the Surgical NICU to care for infants who have scheduled, or may suddenly need, surgical intervention.
  • Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital in Hershey, Pennsylvania is looking for a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner to work in the hospital’s 42 bed, Level IV unit and provide comprehensive care for critically ill and premature newborns with acute or complex medical and surgical conditions.

Review our list of neonatal nurse practitioner jobs, then contact us today!

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