December 17, 2008 | | Comments 3
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Shape relationships by showing off your personal side

Most interpersonal relationships in organizations are position-to-position relationships, rather than person-to-person relationships. In many organizations, managers speak in the role as the “boss” and they are treated as such. Their titles are splashed on their doors, desks, and business cards, all referring to their power position. The meaning behind this is “I want you to respect my position, regardless of who I am as a person.”

The trouble with being a position rather than a person is that if you talk to staff in your role, you reform your statements, censor your feelings, and cover your tracks to tell them what you think they need to know. But if you speak to staff as a person, you will trust your instincts, tell them how you feel, share the whole story, and take responsibility for who you are—both as a person and as a leader.

The following are some quick tips you can practice to become more personal in your role as a nurse manager:

  • Never sit behind a desk when you conduct an interview
  • Frequently ask staff what their concerns are and tell them yours
  • Never evaluate; always coach
  • Be concerned for what someone can do for your organization, but also for him or her as a person

What are your best practices for building interpersonal relationships?

Entry Information

Filed Under: Leadership


About the Author: This post was compiled by members of the Strategies for Nurse Managers staff.

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  1. 1. Ask them how their weekend/holiday/day off was. REALLY listen to their response. If they ask about your time, respond.
    2. Ask them about their hobbies. REALLY listen to their response. If they ask about your hobbies, respond.
    3. Strive to find the “in common.”

    It can be difficult to like some people so this can be helpful when trying to find something to like about them.

  2. Great advice. Thanks for this post. Being a leader means much more than giving orders. Remember they are adults and need to feel like that at work.

  3. I’m still learning how to be a leader to other nurses but I think you have to be careful how much personal information you share with people at work. In the engagement process it is improtant for everyone to feel valued as a person and employee; therefore, there has to be some discussion of personal life but personal life should not prevent nurses from providing great care. I think it is important to know who has children, their approx. ages, and if possible their names. Family is what is most important to a lot of people and if you can say, “Nicole, how is Molly doing in first grade?” or “How is Matt feeling? Is his cold getting better?” Those are the things people will remember and value. I think is is just as important to know the line here. When it comes time for disciplinary action, decisions can’t be made on emotions regarding the employees personal life.

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