Key Leadership Behaviors for Nurse and Healthcare Leaders

High healthcare employee engagement and patient satisfaction scores are two indicators of good leadership behaviors.

However, leadership is multifaceted. Ask what makes a good leader, the key leadership behaviors of a nurse or healthcare leader, and you will probably get as many different answers as the number of people you ask.

Healthcare is undergoing an unprecedented period of transformational change. As a result, today’s successful leaders are most likely innovative, creative, strategic thinkers ready to adapt rapidly and pro-actively to unanticipated challenges.

Whether you are a highly experienced leader or a fairly new manager, adopting a few new key leadership behaviors will enhance you skill set for future success.

This paper is divided into sections that describe the key leadership traits of a successful leader. Each section has a list of leadership traits for you to review.

Leadership Behaviors

The summation and situational application of behaviors to organize people for the pursuit of a shared goal.

  • Thinks strategically and leads strategic initiatives.
  • Builds trust and respect.
  • Welcomes suggestions and encourages ideas from others.
  • Visionary and collaborative with very high standards of excellence.
  • Delegates successfully.
  • Builds successful relationships based on mutual trust and respect for others – individually and as members of a team.
  • Effective public speaker and motivator.
  • Models commitment, confidence and energy.
  • Passionate, innovative, empathetic and visionary.
  • Effective listener.
  • Commits to excellence.
  • Establishes measurable and achievable goals and holds people accountable.
  • Inspires professional passion and confidence in others.
  • Encourages curiosity.
  • Coaches performance improvement to create positive outcomes.
  • Welcomes and encourages ideas, innovative thinking and creative solutions from others.
  • Thinks “outside the box” and encourages calculated risk taking in pursuit of improvement.
  • Exhibits emotional intelligence.
  • Mentors by providing focus, guidance, feedback and transparency.
  • Identifies, attracts, hires and retains great people.
  • Networks skillfully within the organization, and throughout the local and professional community.
  • Supports the organization’s mission and values, and encourages others to do the same.

Many of these key leadership behaviors are examined in more detail in the following sections.


Based on situational awareness, this is the ability to adjust to changing circumstances.

  • Fits in with people at all levels within the organization.
  • Understands and utilizes different communication styles as needed.
  • Agile in coping with a changing environment.
  • Ability to reorganize as priorities change.
  • Creates a better work culture during change by positively influencing others.
  • Builds an empathetic, progressive and resilient culture.
  • Ability to manage ambiguous and complex issues.

This a short excerpt from the 14 page paper Key Leadership Behaviors for Nurse and Healthcare Leaders.

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