Amplify Your Influence

How Nurse Leaders Can Increase Their Impact with 4 Key Strategies

Influence. It’s a critical aspect of leadership that is often overlooked amidst discussion of strategy acumen, financial prowess, and operational excellence.  

In a world where effective leadership is measured not just by authority, but by the ability to inspire and guide others, influence emerges as a cornerstone skill. It’s the power to shape perspectives, drive change, and mobilize teams towards shared goals. As we navigate increasingly complex landscapes, understanding and harnessing the power of influence is not just advantageous; it’s essential for leaders aiming to make a lasting impact. 

Not to be confused with the power or control that comes with title or position, influence is nurtured by trusting relationships. It’s about understanding personal values and motivations.  

Influence is tapping into the knowledge that leverages performance and positive results. 

In the world of nursing, where compassion, empathy, and expertise intersect, influence is a paramount skill for Nurse Leaders. Nurse leadership is not just about managing work schedules or budgets; it’s about fostering healthy environments, inspiring teamwork, and advocating for patients’ well-being. Effective Nurse Leaders understand that their influence can shape the culture of care delivery, drive innovation, and ultimately impact patient outcomes.  

Despite its critical importance, influence is a skill that is not often closely examined or included in Nurse Leader training and development programs.  

This must change. Nurse Leaders no longer have the luxury to ignore this critical and powerful leadership skill. 

One of the key reasons why influence is crucial for Nurse Leaders is its power to inspire and motivate their teams. As we know Nursing is often a high-stress environment, with long hours, complex cases, and emotionally taxing situations. In such scenarios, the ability of nurse leaders to influence their colleagues and team members positively can make all the difference. When nurses feel supported, valued, and empowered by their leaders, they are more likely to go above and beyond to deliver exceptional care. 

Moreover, influence enables nurse leaders to navigate the intricate dynamics of interdisciplinary collaboration within healthcare settings. As Nurse Leaders we work alongside physicians, administrative leaders, therapists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals, each bringing their expertise to the table. Effective leadership involves not only coordinating these efforts but also fostering a culture of mutual respect and collaboration. Nurse Leaders who possess strong influence skills can bridge communication gaps, build consensus, and drive collective action towards shared goals. 

4 Components of Influence:

1. Self-Awareness and Clarifying Values

Building influence as a Nurse Leader requires a deliberate and multifaceted approach. It begins with cultivating self-awareness and a deep understanding of one’s values. Authenticity is key. Nurse Leaders who stay true to themselves are more likely to earn the trust and respect of their team members. As this Harvard Business Review article points out, it “requires developing a strong emotional connection with yourself and others.” Additionally, actively listening to the concerns and perspectives of others fosters empathy and strengthens interpersonal connections, laying the foundation for influential leadership. 

2. Effective Communication

The nurse leaders I work with everyday are focusing on enhancing their communication skills. This is a key success factor for increasing one’s influence. Effective communication involves not only conveying information clearly but also inspiring, motivating, and persuading others. Whether it’s delivering an encouraging talk before a challenging shift, advocating for resources to improve patient care, or mediating conflicts within the team, Nurse Leaders who can communicate with clarity, empathy, and conviction are better positioned to garner support and drive change. 

3.  Creating Strong Relationships

The American Organization of Nurse Leaders emphasizes relationship management and building as pivotal competency for leaders across all levels. While it might seem straightforward, effective relationship management goes beyond mere collaboration and networking- it demands intentional effort and consistent attention.  This component of leadership influence encompasses a multifaceted skill set including networking, operational excellence, conflict management and driving change.   

4.  Building Your Network

Building a strong network of relationships both within and outside the healthcare organization can also amplify a Nurse Leader’s influence. Engaging with colleagues, mentors, professional associations, and community partners not only provides valuable insights and resources but also expands the reach and impact of their leadership. By collaborating with stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem, Nurse Leaders can advocate for policies, practices, and initiatives that advance the profession of nursing and improve patient outcomes. 

Influence lies at the heart of effective leadership in nursing. Nurse Leaders who cultivate trust, authenticity, empathy, and effective communication can inspire their teams, navigate complex healthcare environments, and drive positive change. By continuously investing in their personal and professional development, Nurse Leaders can strengthen their influence and make a lasting impact on the lives of patients, families, and communities they serve. 

Download our Leadership Influence Tip Sheet for practical strategies and ready-to-use tips for enhancing your influence skills!

Download our Leadership Influence Tip Sheet for practical strategies and ready-to-use tips for enhancing your influence skills!

Please fill out the form below to download INL’s Leadership Influence Tip Sheet:

download INL’s Leadership Influence Tip Sheet (#15)
Picture of Lori Armstrong DNP, RN NEA-BC

Lori Armstrong DNP, RN NEA-BC

CEO & Chief Clinical Officer

References:

  1. Benjamin Laker and Charmi Patel. (2020). Strengthen Your Ability to Influence People. Harvard Business Review.  https://hbr.org/2020/08/strengthen-your-ability-to-influence-people   
  2. American Nurses Association. (2015). AONL Nurse Leader Core Competencies . American Nurses Association.  
  3. Maxwell, J.C. & Dornan, J. (2006). Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others. HarperCollins Leadership.