5 Common Pitfalls for Frontline Supervisors, Charge Nurses

While strong performance often secure promotions in healthcare and nursing management, first-time supervisors may be navigating uncharted territory when it comes to leadership skills. In other words, the best employees don’t always make the best leaders.

Gallup reports that the #1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor.

Poor leadership skills can have a ripple effect across a department or nursing unit. It’s no secret that turnover can cost healthcare organizations thousands of dollars per employee.

Healthcare organizations can be proactive on this front and position first-time supervisors for success. Below are five of the common pitfalls you can help your first time supervisors and charge nurses to avoid.

Over-supervising: Anxious to excel in their new position, frontline supervisors and charge nurses may have a tendency to micro-manage their teams. This negatively impacts productivity and team development and can leave managers feeling overwhelmed.

Under-supervising: Some new supervisors fail to provide adequate direction because they don’t want to appear bossy among colleagues who, until recently, were their peers. This can negatively impact employee engagement and lead to increased turnover as well.

Failing to delegate: Supervisors and charge nurses are in management positions because of their experience and knowledge, and sometimes they find it difficult to delegate tasks to those who are less experienced.

Blaming management: If a frontline supervisor or charge nurse is uncomfortable implementing policies and procedures, he or she may be inclined to shift blame to management. It’s important that the management team demonstrate unity, even if they don’t always agree.

Ignoring concerns of the team: New managers can be so consumed with their new role and the increased responsibility that they forget to check-in with the team. Listening to the concerns of staff members is key to a supervisor’s success.

Frontline supervisors and charge nurses must have the ability to communicate well, think strategically and lead change; all while understanding and being tuned into team dynamics. When a healthcare organization invests in the development of promising leaders, the staff, upper management and patients also benefit.