Inclusive leadership, professional standards and accountability

Compassionate inclusive leadership – leading and influencing all staff with kindness, empathy and care – is fundamental to the matron’s role. Matrons should use this to lead and influence their staff to deliver high quality care for patients by:

  • being visible and providing an authoritative presence
  • using strategic thinking to spread understanding of the organisation’s aims
  • demonstrating organisational values and behaviours through role modelling and being available to support staff and patients
  • being inclusive – advancing equality and opportunity for all and addressing inequality
  • displaying clinical and professional credibility through enabling and empowering staff
  • acting as an advocate, within their area of responsibility, on behalf of all patients, staff and carers
  • educating other professionals and members of the public about the matron’s role
  • sharing knowledge, developing broad individual and team skills and seeking out creative opportunities, as well as standardising practice
  • ensuring a professional appearance and maintaining professional standards, contributing to leading by example
  • being aware of their own leadership style, using self-awareness, being open to receiving and learning from feedback and being aware of unconscious biases
  • understanding local policies, practice and frameworks and participating in national and regional initiatives, keeping up to date with the national agenda such as the CNO’s strategy, which includes raising the profile of nursing and speaking with one voice
  • building trust in the workforce by helping to achieve personal, team and organisational objectives
  • ensuring consistent practice by implementing and embedding local and national standards of care
  • succession planning, including enabling staff to shadow other professionals
  • showing respect to all patients and carers and involving them in decisions about their care – respecting their diverse needs and reducing inequalities of access to care and care delivered
  • keeping up to date with new and current nursing standards including pre- and post-registration education development and support for staff.

Matrons need to build a culture of inclusive leadership among staff by encouraging professional development and ensuring patients, carers and families are treated with respect. Protected time should be allocated to team development days. These could include celebrating successes and achievements, learning from incidents and complaints, talking openly about diversity and health inequality, and discussing local service improvement projects. Matrons may also consider safety huddles, newsletters, ward meetings, emails and one-to-one meetings to improve communication.

The matron must be seen in the clinical areas, undertaking regular clinical rounds, talking to patients and listening to their concerns, dealing with complaints and involving patients in decision-making.

Further information

Matron’s Handbook – next sections