When the obvious leadership call is the wrong one.

“Management rounded on the nurses and saw they were all tired looking. Their response? Cut the over time rate. “

I had no idea what that last sentence meant when I heard it the first time too…

I was sitting with a friend who told me about his wife’s working situation at a hospital.

“What do you mean?”

For the last few months, management had put in a special overtime rate for the nurses at their hospital. When they walked around the building, they found that the nurses looked tired. Discerning eyes decided that they couldn’t have tired nurses because of patient safety. The added pay for overtime was then canceled.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Great leadership decision, right?

Except, maybe not. Here’s why.

Maybe the nurses are tired from working too much overtime because they aren’t making enough.

Maybe your base salary isn’t sufficient to meet their needs.

Maybe by cancelling the overtime bonus, nurses will actually work more hours, not less.

Leadership isn’t about solving obvious problems. Leadership is about big picture perspective to get to the root of a problem.

So the next time you see an obvious problem with a quick solution, so what my boss used to tell us.

“Measure Twice, Saw once.” That’s what a leader does.

35 thoughts on “When the obvious leadership call is the wrong one.”

  1. I’m an RN. Without knowing more about this specific situation, I can tell you that the most probable root problem is the RN workload is too heavy and there aren’t enough staff assigned to work on that unit on those times. So nurses are working overtime to make things safe and finish charting. Charting is very crucial in hospital environments because “if it isn’t charted, it wasn’t done”. Because….whatever period of time that passes and you might find yourself in court, you will not be able to recall what you did, beyond what you charted. Statistics document that any RN’s efficiency goes down after 12 hours of working (in a row). So, the last 4 hrs of a double shift (8 plus 8) becomes more risky. But RN’s work in a situation that if there isn’t enough staff, they are liable if they leave work (ie patients stranded without caregivers).

    There you go, my comments.

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