Developing Leadership Behaviors and Promoting Success Through Faculty Mentoring

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Lisa M. Barnes, DNP
College of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
Bette A. Mariani, PhD, RN, ANEF
College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA
Barbara Manz Friesth, PhD
School of Nursing, Indiana University, Indianapolis,, IN, USA

Background and Purpose: Nursing faculty shortages have been found to be related to the inability to educate the growing number of registered nurse professionals needed in healthcare (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2017). Measures to retain and support new nurse faculty are important to addressing this faculty shortage; furthermore this shortage contributes to fewer faculty who are well-positioned to assume leadership roles in nursing academia. Sigma Theta Tau International’s (STTI) Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA) is a 20-month academy with the purpose of developing nurse faculty leaders and supporting academic career success through a triad relationship between a scholar, mentor, and faculty advisor. The NFLA is based on three domains comprised of individual leadership development, advancing nursing education through leading a team project, and expanding the scholar’s scope of influence. The triad guides the scholar’s growth and development through the three domains. Kouzes and Posner’s (2012) five exemplary practices of leadership challenges rising leaders to model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart.

Methods: The NFLA utilized two workshops, an initial triad site visit, triad and scholar community calls, and triad support to guide the scholar through the three domains. The Kouzes and Posner’s (2012) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership and the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) were used to assess this scholar’s leadership behaviors and guide leadership growth throughout the academy. The LPI self-assessment, peer assessments, triad feedback, and input from leadership observers, the leadership mentor, and faculty advisor were used to develop an individual leadership development plan (ILDP). The ILDP assisted this scholar in identifying areas of strength and improvement that helped measure growth of these leadership behaviors throughout the academy.

The second domain of the Academy was to lead a team project aimed in advancing nursing education using the scholar’s current and emerging leadership behaviors. The team project focused on developing a strategic plan and building a team to support a new mentoring program at the scholar’s institution. The goal of this team project was aimed at supporting nurse faculty, an issue that is critical to addressing the growing shortage of nurse faculty. The National League for Nursing (NLN) (2014) supports one of the challenges of recruiting and retaining qualified nurse educators is related to preparing the nurse educator for the teaching role. An initial stake holder’s analysis demonstrated that the faculty members at this scholar’s College of Nursing (CON) had the potential of benefiting from a formal mentoring program. The Excellence in Mentoring Model (Nick et al., 2012) was used as a framework for the new mentoring program that included the scholar facilitating monthly mentoring mingles, allowing both new and experienced faculty to engage in discussions and promote new collaborations and teamwork. These mentoring mingles included topics under The Excellence in Mentoring Model’s main focus areas including: orientation to the faculty role, socialization to the academic community, development of teaching, research, and service sills, and facilitation of the growth of future leaders in nursing and nursing education (Nick et al., 2012). Newly acquired leadership behaviors such as of inspiring a vision and encouraging communication and collaboration while leading the team project presented opportunities to achieve the third domain of expanding the scholar’s scope of influence.

The scholars were encouraged during the NFLA to identify areas for desired growth, develop an elevator speech and vision for the future to guide their expansion of influence. A plan to expand this scholar’s influence was implemented by searching for ways to become more involved in the university through committee service and through leadership opportunities within the university’s local STTI chapter. This influence growth was fueled by the NFLA’s purposeful experiences to promote leadership through this scholar’s ILDP and by the utilization leadership behaviors.

Results: Results from the mid-academy LPI, demonstrated growth in leadership behaviors in four out of five of Kouzes and Posner’s Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. Seven monthly mentoring mingles were completed as a team project and allowed for this scholar to employ newly learned leadership behaviors that promoted collaboration among faculty members. Leading the mentoring project allowed this scholar to find a voice to share in affirmed values and promote innovative ways to improve mentoring activities to support new faculty. A survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the mentoring mingles as a mentoring activity was conducted and results will provide a guide for the future direction of this mentoring program.

Increased scholar confidence as a leader and collaboration with the team project provided a platform for an increased scope of influence within the organization as a newly elected member of the undergraduate curriculum committee and in the Sigma Theta Tau International local nursing chapter, where the scholar will serve as Chapter Treasurer. The next steps in the scholar’s leadership journey include the continuation of this scholar’s ILDP and vision for the future. Promoting mentoring as well as advocating for psychiatric mental health nursing, advanced practice, and leading change for improving nursing education in psychiatric mental health nursing have been identified as areas of desired growth for this scholar. The NFLA experience promoted the achievement of leadership behaviors and expanded scope of influence that has allowed this scholar to visualize future possibilities to grow and promote the advancement of nursing education in these vital areas.