Steven Wiley — president of the Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg, Pa. —  suggests that nurse executives look to the Civil War and particularly the Battle of Gettysburg for guidance on leadership.

He specifically pointed to Col. Joshua Chamberlain, of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, who made a move that may have been key in the Union’s  success that day. He urged soldiers to protect the Union army’s left flank during the second of the three days of the battle.

He says Gettysburg was one of history’s notable battles,  producing crucial leadership lessons for those in healthcare and anyone else in management, Hospitals & Health Networks reports.

The great leaders, like  Chamberlain possessed harder to measure “transformational” leadership attributes. Those include, H&HN paraphrased, ”creating a vision, living your values, acting as a role model, building confidence in others, enabling vs. empowering and communicating.”

Mr. Wiley emphasized the importance of leaders listening to their subordinates. He said that about 38 percent of that message is tone and volume, while 55 percent is our physiology — posture, demeanor, expression and appearance. “Ninety-three percent of the message they use as data to come up with an opinion of us has nothing to do with what we say, but we’ll spend entire careers” obsessing over what word to use to get our message across.

Mr. Wiley suggests that nursing leaders ask themselves (paraphrased by H&HN):

  1. How do you get your way (are you direct or indirect)?
  2. How do you respond to people?
  3. How do you pace activity in your daily life?
  4. And how do you manage details in your life?

Find out how you can “stretch your style” to better serve colleagues and patients.