Shanna Sherman

Healthy Relationships in the Workplace – Main Discussion


Leadership Strategies

A healthy relationship between a leader and their followers requires a partnership composed of “trust, mutual respect, support, and communication” (Manion, 2011, p. 36). One strategy a leader can employ to build healthy relationships with their followers is to be visible. Followers recognize a leader’s presence because it creates an encouraging and supportive environment that allows the employee to feel connected. Being available for followers to ask questions during situations where they are less confident or need support is essential in creating an environment that feels safe. Even when the leader does not have all the answers, just having the support of a leader provides encouragement and support an employee may need to help work through the situation. Achor (2012) studied the effect of social support on happiness and found that it was the “greatest predictor of happiness during periods of high stress (p. 102). The leadership-follower relationship can be viewed as a social support system within the workplace that promotes and sustains follower happiness.

Another leadership strategy to build healthy leader-follower relationships includes communication transparency. Leaders must be able to openly communicate with their followers as well as serve as a sounding board to work through difficult situations, provide positive and negative feedback, and provide resources to advance their growth and development (Manion, 2011). Open communication also creates an element of trust between the follower and the leader. The foundation of a good relationship is based on trust. Trust creates positive relationships that have been proven to contribute to follower happiness and success in their professional lives (Lussier & Hendon, 2018).

Targeted Staff Members

Presence and open communication are two strategies that create healthy and productive relationships between a nurse leader and their followers, however, both strategies should be employed among all disciplines within the healthcare organization. For example, as a nurse leader, I would ensure that my availability spans the entirety of the workforce of the unit. A high-performance team demands “positivity, inquiry, and a focus on others” (Muha & Manion, 2012, p. 52). Being present and having open communication with not just the RNs, but also the providers, NPs and PAs, nurse aids, and the environment of care staff creates what Muha and Manion (2012) described as a nonlinear level of functioning. Nonlinear functioning includes maintaining passion in employees by promoting a work environment where everyone works together and recognizes their value. Relationships also thrive when leaders are attentive to staff needs. Present and available leaders are able to directly observe their work environment to generate a more positive workplace where collaboration and teamwork are valued.

Positive Psychology Strategy

Happiness can only be determined by the individual experiencing it, and no one can make another person happy in their work environment. Studies have shown that organizations that place emphasis on a positive psychology environment have been proven to unquestionably influence the happiness of their employees for the better (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012). Muha and Manion (2010) discussed the idea that for every negative interaction an employee experiences, there must be at least five positive interactions to provide a balance for employees to maintain their happiness and enthusiasm in the workplace. One positive psychology strategy that could be employed to increase the ratio of positive to negative interactions in the workplace would be to recognize employees when they have provided exceptional patient care. The employee would be recognized by the patient and/or their family by allowing them to fill out a comment card given to them in their admission folder. The patient or family can fill out the comment card at any time during their stay. If they choose to fill out the comment card, they can then place the card on a mural near the charge nurse station that recognizes exceptional care. The mural will be visible to nurses, patients, visitors, and other hospital staff. The nurse will feel a sense of meaningfulness in knowing that they made a difference which will subtract from the sometimes-meaningless work they do on a day to day basis. Meaningfulness is one of the intrinsic motivators that allows an employee to perceive an experience as a positive one affecting their overall happiness at an organization (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012).


Achor, S. (2012). Positive intelligence. (cover story). Harvard Business Review, 90(1/2), 100-102. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.or…

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Fostering a positive workplace. Baltimore, MD: Author

Lussier, R. N., & Hendon, J. R. (2018). Human resource management: Functions, applications, & skill development (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Manion, J. (2011). From management to leadership: Strategies for transforming health care (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Muha, T. M., & Manion, J. (2010). Using positive psychology to engage your staff during difficult times.
Nurse Leader, 8(1), 50-54. doi:10.1016/j.mnl.2009.12.002

apa format 2 references please