Performance Appraisals

This week I learned on the performance appraisals and how to approach a problem employee. As a group we came up with different questions to ask a manager about performance appraisals and what we are curious about when it comes to performance appraisals. The discussions we had this week, pushed me to think beyond my regular point of view and step into the view of a manager who has to reprimand an employee or how to deal with that situation. I enjoyed discussing with my group how they would deal with each situation and seeing the different points of view. That helped me expand my thinking and hopefully prepare me for a leadership position I may have one day. I also worked on talking through different levels of rating for an employee when giving a performance appraisal. It actually was harder than I thought to think through the different qualities I would want in each ranking and what qualities I thought were essential to include. My group came up with some great ones that I would want to include in my ratings one day. 

Well I don’t have much to say for this week but overall I did learn a lot and I think I am moving forward in my learning about how to be a leader. 

Team Building Week

This past week we worked on team building for virtual team as well as continuing with hiring topics. This unit I enjoyed learning about team building exercises that could be incorporated for a virtual team. Now days many company’s are able to do things online without actually meeting in person each week. I think that a perk of having companies meet is they build that teamwork mentality and workmanship. They also build friendships and trust, which I think is essential in a business, and can happen when the employees meet with each other. This week we wrote a 12 page paper on team building activities and I was able to learn some good team building activities that can be done for any team but especially in virtual teams. I liked the activity and will be suggesting some of these activities for my own nursing team at work. We like to do things together outside of work for example, multiple people go on running relays together or we have a monthly book club. After learning about many activities, I will be suggesting some to my unit.

This past week my team and I created 10 interview questions to ask a person who is in charge of hiring. The questions are focused to help us understand mentality behind certain questions asked to an interviewee. Here are the questions/answers to the interview I conducted of Brian Wilkins, one of the managers of Casselle, an accounting company.

  • With reference lists… What is considered an appropriate amount of references?  Do you actually contact every person on the candidate’s reference list? If so, what kind of questions do you ask them
    • 2 or 3 References make the most sense. Often one reference will be contacted first and depending on answers (whether good or bad) may be the last reference checked. Questions include a couple to validate the relationship and then opening up a discussion so they can get their energy out in praising the candidate. Then conversation can follow.
  • After meeting and interviewing a candidate, is your “gut feeling” or the employees qualifications/experience more important to you?
    • Gut feeling is very important but is not engaged until after the qualifications are assessed.
  • When considering a candidate for a job, how important is the candidate’s physical appearance?  Are there certain things that you look for in a potential candidate? –
    • Physical appearance matters only as an indicator that the candidate can do the job. For a fireman, the appearance that they can haul a 3” hose full of water. In our field, the appearance that they can dress professionally enough to train in front of customers.
  • What is one characteristic/trait/or other aspect that often sets a candidate apart for the job?
    • Skills in an area outside that required for the position – showing they are well rounded and resourceful.
  • What kind of answers are interviewers looking for when you ask about a time the candidate had to deal with a conflict? Are you looking for a certain answer or quality?
    • Those questions are more about observing how the candidate thinks than about how the conflict was resolved or even if it was resolved.
  • When reviewing a candidate’s qualifications, does the school they attended make a difference when choosing between candidates?
    • The school attended will matter first if it is the school I attended and second its reputation in the field in which we are working.
  • What is the biggest thing that someone can do in an interview to automatically make you not want to hire them?
    • Appear untruthful or arrogant or boastful.
  • What kind of questions do you want the interviewee to ask when you ask for questions at the end?
    • Questions about what it will be like working together. Showing confidence in questions like where they will be sitting or which is the best way to commute.
  • Do you actually care about the answers to the questions you ask, or is your mind mostly made up before hand and you’re just fulfilling an HR requirement?
    • I am surprised at how many times I have seen a resume and thought a person was a great fit for our company and that we will have a great connection only to come out of the interviews feeling very differently. Often hearing the story of progression in the interviewee’s education and experience and life have had the biggest impact.
  • Do you screen prospective employees social media accounts and are there things you might find that may disqualify or seriously damage an interviewees chances of getting hired.
    • I don’t believe we do as a company. I confess that a couple of times more than a decade ago Scott and I looked at social media of candidates that were close friends or family of existing employees to prejudge if the credentials seemed supported.

From this interview, I was surprised that this company doesn’t look more into social media accounts. I have always had the mentality that I need to be careful what I post on social media because what I post can influence what an interviewer thinks of me. Another interesting answer was that he finds interest when the interviewee comes from a school that he attended but also that he looks into how accredited the school is in accounting. I think that makes sense because if they are not well known for having a good accounting program then the student may not be a stronger suit for the position than a person coming from a stronger accounting program. Through this interview I was able to analyze what kind of responses I would expect if I were interviewing a person and what qualities I would be looking for in a candidate. I liked that I was able to see a confirmation that the activities we are involved in outside of work and the work we are doing outside of work make a difference in our interviews because it shows we are well rounded people who are involved in more than just basic working jobs.

Hiring Week

This week I was able to look at hiring from a different perspective. When I think of hiring I usually think of what I need to do to prepare to get hired in a job. This week I was challenged in a different way. I had to view it from a leadership perspective where I had to decide what I would ask an interviewer or what I could and could not ask. I also got asked in a scenario who I would choose and why and that actually took some thinking from my part because I had to decide between two amazing candidates and why I would choose one over the other. I also can see how hard the hiring process is because you can be faced with someone with experience for 10+ years or someone who’s only been a nurse for 1+ years but has amazing recommendations. Do you choose the newer nurse with fresh eyes or do you choose the more experience nurse. It all depends on what you are looking for for your team and what you are wanting to add to the team. That is something that I was able to learn this unit. 

I liked the activities this week, we were able to challenge each other in who we thought should be hired between two candidates. I was able to see different perspectives as to why they would choose the candidate I didn’t choose and it does help you see it in different ways. I think that I changed my opinion just because one class mate made a strong point about how she would go by her gut feeling.  I think that has a huge impact on hiring just like it does when you are working as a nurse and something doesn’t feel right, it’s that gut feeling that makes you feel like something is wrong and you can’t explain why but you just know something is wrong. That same gut feeling can help you in making a hiring decision because a person gives you that gut feeling. 

I will utilize the information I learned this week by using these tips of hiring for when I am in a position of leadership and do the hiring. I can also use this in preparation for my next job interview and remembering these interview questions and what I should be working on. If I am ever making a decision to hire I can use these tips I learned. I felt like this material was useful and was a good thing to learn. As a nurse wanting to grow in my field I want to be prepared for what leadership opportunities I may be faced with. I am glad we cover this information. 

Reflecting on Leadership

This week I learned and pondered on different leadership techniques and what being a leader really means. Throughout this blog entry I also will be explaining different mini assignments that I had to include in my blog. So I will begin with those first.

The first is 12 characteristics of a leader and how they relate to nursing.

  1. Leadership requires personal mastery – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they show competence and mastery in the tasks they perform. Nurses are deemed competent by means of a license to practice nursing (NLN 2010)
  2. Leadership is about values: Nurses have a set of values that they follow. They demonstrate leadership when they apply these values on a daily basis.
  3. Leadership is about service: Nurses work hard to do more for others. Nurses work in areas focused on service of others but also take time out of their day to volunteer in areas of service
  4. Leadership is about people and relationships: Nurses focus is the patient and the family. We focus on making the patient comfortable and helping them heal to get home sooner. We built a trusting relationship with the patient so they know they can rely on us while we care for them.
  5. Leadership is contextual: Nurses have to adapt to what they are faced with. They have to be able to think quickly and act accordingly depending on the situation they are faced with.
  6. Leadership is about the management of meaning: Nurses have to be about to lead others and manage those under them. They also have to be able to manage a critical situation, like a code. One person must lead it and be able to think quickly to achieve the goal.
  7. Leadership is balance: Nurses must be able to balance the day out. They have multiple patients, multiple cares to do and still be able to sit and chart it. Also nurses must balance their work life with home life and still be able to perform in each.
  8. Leadership is about continuous learning and improvement: As nurses we have to do quarterly education to refresh on older material but also attend conferences and learn/research about evidence supporting changes in treatment and care. Health care is always evolving and as nurses we need to evolve with it and learn what is new and working.
  9. Leadership is about effective decision-making: Nurses must make effective decisions based on what the situation is. Code situation come up or just changes in a patents condition. The nurse must be able to choose what to do next and recall the training she has had in situations like this to be able to make the correct decision. Charge nurses are responsible of making decisions in staffing; pairing of patients and helping nurses make decisions about their patients.
  10. Leadership is a political process: Nurses must travel up the ladder to be able to get to the management level of nursing. The politics involved in the corporation or even the health care system have to be known and the person has to be educated in this area.
  11. Leadership is about modeling: The nurse must be the example to those around them. The patient, the family, the other health acer workers are looking at him/her about what they can/cannot do and the nurse should be the example. The nurse has to be professional and caring.
  12. Leadership is about integrity: A nurse must have a strong moral and follow principles that he/she believes in while caring for his/her patients. The nurse must be honest in all she does, have strong ethical values, be truthful and trustworthy. These are all characteristics a nurse should have and will continue to develop throughout his/her career.

Next I have included my results from the DISC personality test. It was interesting to complete this test because as I was going through the results I could actually think of different people in my life that fit in those different personalities. After completing the DISC Personality Test, the results of the test show that I have a steady personality. I think that this actually fits me very well. I am one who likes to stay behind the scenes and get things done even though I am rarely recognized for it. I am okay doing that because I like to work hard and get tasks done. This personality can fit well in managerial roles or assistant to heads of departments. I can see my personality fitting in a managerial role because I am still working under someone else but I am here to support the nurses and can get tasks done for the unit. I think I can take this and also continue to apply it to my current job but also try to adjust to some of the other personality trades like being more influential and making sure that people (patients and families) are part of my priority as well.

Lastly I wanted to reflect on what I learned this week. This week I learned about characteristic of a leader and the different traits a leader can have. A person can be a autocratic leader, a democratic leader and a laissez-faire. I think that like Sean mentioned in the lecture, you can’t just use the one leadership style in all situations. The best leader uses different styles to lead depending on the situation they are being faced with. We also reviewed how management and leadership could be seen together. I have great respect for managers in any area. It takes a skill in leadership to be able to be a manager. My manager deals with so many things being a manager of an ICU, he has to worry about budget, HCAP scores and how well the unit is functioning as a team and making it all move smoothly and much more. He takes a lot on his plate and when he is gone on vacation our assistant manager can’t believe all the he deals with and we never see the stress or anxiety that comes with being a manager. I think that is one skill a manger should have. A manager shouldn’t stress the employees taking care of patients with things that don’t need to stress them, the focus should be the patient and caring for them. I think the team activity was useful because I actually had to think through different leaders and why I thought they were good leaders. Some of them like Hitler weren’t good people but he still managed to lead such a huge concept that so many people followed him. I don’t think it changed my opinion on the subject but it for sure makes me think deeper into it. I will utilize what I learned to try and be a leader in my career, I want to be a charge nurse one day and that requires me to be able to be a leader. I can start now by working on leading those working with me to take care of my patient. I think this material is so good to learn. WE can be leaders in different areas in our lives not just in nursing and learning about qualities of a leader and how to be a strong leader is important.