Based on my own positive and negative experiences with leaders I feel honesty is the most important trait. I will begin with the negative – prior to the pandemic, in the LTC I worked for, we had 6 full time day RPNs (myself included) who had all held these roles since day 1 of opening about 5 years earlier. All of these RPNs were amazing, strong nurses who had a passion for their job and the residents. As such, many would often go to leadership with concerns and expect changes to better the care for our residents. Over about 2 weeks we were all individually approached by our leadership team stating other RPNs had come to them burnt out and wanting to change neighbourhoods. When us 6 RPNs spoke to one another – this was revealed to be completely untrue. This was a pivotal moment where we all lost trust in our leadership team. Within about 18 months all of these nurses left for other roles. I use this as an example of how honesty plays such a vital role in trust and followership.
Now for a positive example. At my current workplace our leader is incredible. She holds bi-weekly meetings with us where she is always honest in her updates (good or bad) and wants us to bring this honest open communication forward to those we support. There are many times that we are delivering bad news to patients but more often than not they appreciate someone being upfront and honest in a warm, compassionate way. We are able to build trust with our patients and families and they turn to us as leaders to support them in their dementia journey.