Why Move to a Leadership Role?

Jessica Guzzetti, MBA, BSN, RN, CCHP-RN | Updated/Verified: Apr 4, 2024

Let's talk about leadership. Some nurses enter the profession to serve – selflessly, without expectations or specific ambition, only to give of themselves and heal. Some nurses enter the profession intent on becoming a leader. This can be motivated by many things, such as previous experience, wanting to make a difference from another perspective, and an innate passion for nursing and nurses (to name a few). Some nurses find themselves unexpectedly on the path to opportunity while others diligently work toward it. Some avoid leadership like COVID-19. While leadership is not for everyone, it is worth it for the right fit – every bit of it.

Leadership will test you unlike anything you can imagine.

Have You Met a Dumbo?

Not everyone deserves to be a leader. Read that again.

They may position themselves to advance to leadership positions via relationship building ("it's who you know"), can be excessive delegators (at times a guise for their incompetence), cunning negotiators, rich in ulterior motives, practice avoidance in place of decision making ("CYA"), and are opaque in their intention – at best. They may be perceived as "yes people" and "ladder climbers."

Most of us have met the elephant in the room. I've witnessed the aftermath of its wake. When a leader fails to secure trust and respect, hope dies – morale tanks. Motivation wanes. The culture becomes toxic. People become quiet quitters. Some leave altogether. Valuable experience, work, commitment, and loyalty are lost. Some view leadership simply as a gateway to increased compensation, resume building, the elevation of public and professional image, and a stepping-stone to more of the same.

Born Leaders – The Naturals

Let's talk about natural or born leaders. They may be reluctant; they may be enthusiastic. They have a gift. These leaders will be humble and genuine, feel responsible for their flock, take that responsibility to heart, and provide mentorship and encouragement. They lose sleep, sacrifice much, and often earn trust, respect, and admiration. They'll be supported – their team will have their back in return for the same. These leaders will celebrate the success of their team as their own. You will not find them in an office; you will find them alongside their team, putting in work.

"I will not ask or expect of you that which I am not willing to ask or expect of myself".

Leadership roles offer experience and skills that are applicable to everyday life. They transcend industries and time. The same skills you learn and hone in the professional arena can be applied to life, family, friends, church, sports and hobbies, volunteer work, and more. Leadership will teach you to be selfless above all else. It will offer you invaluable lessons and wisdom. The effects and implications of bearing the burden and success of something greater than yourself, are truly remarkable.

Once a leader, always a leader!

Things Leadership Has Taught Me – Both the Easy and the Hard Way

  • Respect is hard-earned and easily lost!
  • You will have to prove yourself, and you may have to do so more than once.
  • Mistakes are just another way of learning.
  • Give yourself (and others) grace during wins and losses.
  • Always listen, you'll be glad.
  • Draw from the experience of your team.
  • Remain humble – remember your roots.
  • Know when/how to ask for help – and ask!
  • Build your network – team members, friends, and family who nourish you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Secure mentors who nourish you professionally.


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