We Were Never Meant to Do It Alone

Catherine Burger, MSOL, RN, NEA-BC | Updated/Verified: Feb 17, 2024

We were never meant to lead alone.

We were never meant to carry the ideas, oversight, inspirations, and burdens alone. No one ever intended for us to gather our wins and losses into our arms and carry them through the hallways of our career path alone. True leadership is about sharing all the good, bad, and ugly to not only act as a blueprint of what and what not to do, but also to inspire and enlighten one another to be better than we were yesterday.

Especially in the healthcare space.

The Sharing of Knowledge Needs to Be a Team Sport

I have had the immense pleasure of working on leadership teams that were as transparent as legally possible and the pain of teams where middle management is treated like a fungus. Not the rare and valuable truffle kind of fungi, the keep-you-in-the-smelly-dark one.

Here’s the thing about working on a team where the executive leadership wins, and losses were shared; it inspired me to give more of myself authentically because I trusted where that information and those outcomes – my own leadership wins and losses – would go to help the organization be better than it was yesterday.

This is fine and dandy, but what if you work in an environment that still believes in knowledge and information hoarding? The department or leadership team that questions your leadership abilities because you not only ask for information or ideas from your colleagues and supervisors, but you openly share as well.

How Do You Begin to Make a Difference in Toxic Environments?

Start by strategically asking questions of your peers and leaders related to knowledge sharing and building trust:

  • What do you believe was the intent of the employee in the action? (When everyone is dogpiling on an error)
  • If we shared more openly regarding discipline outcomes, wouldn’t that help create consistency in our processes?
  • I consider myself very strong in the area of _____. What can I share or create to help others struggling in this area?

Another tactic is to begin conversations with “Since you hired me to manage the daily operations of my department, and I know you’re committed to my success, what are your thoughts on…." (Or "I would like to….")

Knowledge is power, that much is true. But the fallacy starts when leaders believe that sharing their knowledge impedes or gives away their power. The opposite is true. Sharing your leadership knowledge duplicates and expands your reach, which is the ultimate power.

Share what you have. Contribute to others’ success. Be a non-judgmental sounding board for your colleague. We weren't meant to be on this journey alone.


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