Stop Tolerating Bad Managers

Rebecca Hendren, October 11, 2011

There are three steps executive leadership can take to change a culture. These steps set behavioral expectations not only for nursing managers but for all employees.

1. Create a foundation of trust 

“The first responsibility of healthcare leaders is to create conditions for trust,” says Bartholomew. “This can only happen when all staff are held accountable to the same rules.” A hospital’s culture will change only when everyone sees that the same rules apply to everyone, from the housekeeping staff to nurses to managers to surgeons.

2. Demand better behavior

Explain what behavior is acceptable and what is not, from shouting to gossiping. Don’t limit only to what is said out loud. “Ninety-three percent of all communication is non-verbal,” says Bartholomew. “Call out all non-verbal behaviors.” This includes eye-rolling, sighing, making faces, and ignoring, which can be as damaging as something said out loud.

Rebecca Hendren Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at
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