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Values-based nursing leadership: a way to restore integrity

Demonstrating congruence between values, beliefs and actions, values-based leadership is a reminder of how nurses can shape the future of their profession
Picture is abstract illustration showing a network of heads in silhouette. The article says demonstrating congruence between values, beliefs and actions, values-based leadership is a reminder of how nurses can shape the future of their profession.

Demonstrating congruence between values, beliefs and actions, values-based leadership is a reminder of how nurses can shape the future of their profession

The Nursing Now campaign to raise the profile of nursing calls for employers globally to support leadership development in its Nightingale Challenge .

With increasing staff shortages and ever greater demands in the work environment, 2020 is a good time to remind ourselves and our employers of what effective values-based leadership can achieve and how it can influence future policy.

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Demonstrating congruence between values, beliefs and actions, values-based leadership is a reminder of how nurses can shape the future of their profession

Picture is abstract illustration showing a network of heads in silhouette. The article says demonstrating congruence between values, beliefs and actions, values-based leadership is a reminder of how nurses can shape the future of their profession.
Picture: iStock

The Nursing Now campaign to raise the profile of nursing calls for employers globally to support leadership development in its Nightingale Challenge.

With increasing staff shortages and ever greater demands in the work environment, 2020 is a good time to remind ourselves and our employers of what effective values-based leadership can achieve and how it can influence future policy.

It is suggested that values-based leadership has emerged from a leadership landscape in which political, business and health service leaders have been ‘plagued with extensive, evasive and disheartening ethical leadership failures’ and in which many have been ‘exposed for immoral and unethical behaviours… financial greed and corruption, corporate meltdowns and springing unethical practices’ (Copeland 2014).

As a result, corporations, stakeholders, governments, communities and individuals have refocused on the value of ethical behaviour and on leaders who lead with their values to the fore (Stanley 2019).

Values are similarly becoming the focus of nursing and healthcare leadership as well as a guide for health practitioner practice, so understanding what values-based leadership means and how it is expressed or understood have become vital.

Clearer definition of leader type needed in healthcare professions

Values-based leaders are recognised because there is a congruence between their values, beliefs and actions, and it is this congruence that followers identify with and respond to. They act on behalf of their followers and seek to provide the conditions and resources their followers cannot provide on their own. Values-based leaders create followers by enabling them to clearly see the values they hold dear.

The past decade has seen ongoing accusations of a lack of leadership in healthcare as well as a lack of compassion (Francis 2013, Evans et al 2019). It must be acknowledged that more is needed than just a push for leadership development. We need to define more clearly what type of leader we need in the healthcare professions in response to these challenges.

Copeland (2014) suggests that values-based leadership has emerged as a theoretical lifeline to restore hope, confidence, integrity and honour. In this way, leaders can be recognised because of their focus on values and the application of their values to how they lead.

The three-year Nursing Now campaign, launched by the International Council of Nurses, the Burdett Trust for Nursing and the World Health Organization, comes to an end this year, which is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. It makes 2020 seem an appropriate time to bring these issues to the fore as we celebrate nursing and its achievements in leading globally, focusing on the core values that the nursing profession has established.


Picture of co-author Alison James, a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Cardiff University and a member of the editorial advisory board of Nursing ManagementAlison James is a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Cardiff University and a member of the editorial advisory board of Nursing Management

 

 

Picture of co-author David Stanley, a senior lecturer in the school of nursing, midwifery and paramedicine, Australian Catholic University, Canberra, AustraliaDavid Stanley is a senior lecturer in the school of nursing, midwifery and paramedicine, Australian Catholic University, Canberra, Australia

 

 

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