Every manager wants to harness the full potential of their employees, but doing so requires the willingness to occasionally let go of the reins.
“The word I use with my team is that I ‘unleash’ them,” says Jackie Ward, DNP, RN, NE-BC, chief nursing officer and senior vice president at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. “When you let your team be creative and innovative, you enable them to be forward-thinking and create things that you've never heard of.”
A prime example of this leadership approach in action led to a retooling of the hiring process at Texas Children’s. Facing widespread staffing shortages for nurses and other frontline health care workers, Ward tapped two nursing leaders to devise a solution. The result: the creation of a centralized hiring hub that reduced the average time from job application to onboarding from 180 days to 45 days.
“They were unleashed with a charge to go make it work—and they did,” Ward says. “It’s what we needed for this nursing department, the organization and the community, and I give all kudos and appreciation to them for their leadership.”
Ward says the project not only addressed a pressing issue in the organization, but also revealed leadership qualities in those team members that might not have otherwise been evident. And drawing that out of her employees, according to Ward, ultimately makes the entire team stronger.
“Unleashing your team means they will follow you into war—and they do—because they’ve bought into our mission,” Ward says. “And it’s not just my vision but one they’ve had input on as well—it’s our vision as a nursing department.”