Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Knowing Your Preference: The Nexus of Personality and Leadership

Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Knowing Your Preference: The Nexus of Personality and Leadership

Article excerpt

Prelicensure nursing students must be prepared to address the new challenges that will confront them in the modern health care environment. Leadership development, the gaining of tools and education about the process of influencing and persuading others, is important when working with groups and teams in the work place. Recognition of one's personality preferences using self-assessment is a critical dimension of leadership development. This study examined the personality preferences of a cohort of prelicensure nursing students (N = 14) enrolled in an 18-month leadership program. Students completed the Myers-Briggs assessment before starting and at the completion of the program. Through active student-centered learning and experiential exercises, students became more aware of how they preferred to relate to others and how this might affect their work in groups and leading interprofessional teams. The most prominent personality type for both pre- and postassessment was extroversion, sensing, thinking, and judging.

Keywords: personality preference; leadership development; prelicensure nursing students

The Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program was established at Drexel University in January 2012 in response to the need to support development of leadership skills among student nurses who will be navigating and leading change within our reforming health care environment. The program was designed to provide students with the tools and foundational education they will need to be more effective in understanding their own behavior (i.e., "self"), leading interprofessional teams, and understanding group dynamics, and to recognize the manifold roles of professional nurses in the community (Waite, McKinney, Glasgow, & Meloy, 2014). This article will specifically detail the relevance of nursing students' awareness of their own preferences regarding personality style related to leadership and human interaction (e.g., interpersonal relations, decision making, and leading teams).

While there is a natural nexus between professional nursing and leadership, its relevance has never been more important given the challenges (e.g., quality, safety, competition, restructuring, and cost containment) that will confront prelicensure nursing students once they have successfully completed their undergraduate education. It is important for students at this early stage in their career to recognize their innate cognitive preferences, patterns, and tendencies when they are interacting with others and when taking in information as well as when making decisions (Ostafichuk & Naylor, 2013). Recognition of these preferences is particularly important because nurses can play an increasingly vital role in health care with increased leadership opportunities. Nurses comprise the largest segment of the health care workforce (more than 3 million nurses); this presence will undeniably place nurses as pivotal members of interprofessional health care teams (Welding, 2011).

Differences in personality preferences among team members have the potential to improve team effectiveness by increasing diversity of perspectives and behaviors; however, these very same differences among team members may also increase tension when working collectively. Individuals working together inform group dynamics, and positive outcomes are promising if group members are mindful of the personality dynamics and if they work toward optimizing each team member 's strengths. Taken together, understanding one's own approach to interacting with others highlights the differences that are inherent when working with other people. Personality is also an important determinant of an individual's effectiveness as a leader. Personality assessments such as the Myers-Briggs questionnaire (The Myers & Briggs Foundation, n.d.) have been found to be useful as a framework for understanding self as a person in the context of leadership and one's own differences. Specifically, this assessment tool can assist students with their learning to be a strong leader. …

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