Communication; Delegation; Employee Problems and Problem Employees; Leadership; Rules and Policies

The New Broom

Primary Topic—Change Management

Additional Topics—Communication; Delegation; Employee Problems and Problem Employees; Leadership; Rules and Policies

Shari Daniels, the new nurse manager for the emergency department, was not feeling particularly happy with her lot in organizational life. She was just 1 month into her new role and already she felt like walking away from the job.

The problem, she decided, was staff resistance to change. She knew that a cer- tain amount of resistance to a new manager and her ways of doing certain things was inevitable, but it seemed to Shari that everything she said or did was resisted simply because it came from her. There was so much she needed to do—the department had coasted literally for years under an apathetic manager, and the emergency depart- ment customarily received little attention from top management—that she had hardly known where to begin. And with so much to be done, she had jumped in and begun fixing everything that needed fixing as rapidly as possible.

As Shari related to her friend Sue Ross, also a nurse manager at the hospital, “I resurrected the dress code and brought it up to date; you have no idea what was being tolerated in the way of appearance. And I put a fast stop to personal telephone calls and the use of food and drink and reading matter within view of the public. In addition, I’ve started to enforce the hospital’s policies on attendance and tardiness; I can’t tell you how long those people have been allowed to wander in and out almost whenever they felt like it.

“And what do I get? A nearly complete lack of support except, fortunately, for some ‘It’s about times’ from a couple of the older staff. I’ve held a staff meet- ing every week since I started, and I’ve tried hard to sell them all on the need to improve the general appearance and level of professionalism of the department. But all I get is a lack of support, lots of apparent bitterness, and resistance to everything I say.”

Sue asked, “It sounds like you inherited a terrible mess. But are you sure you’re not trying to do too much too quickly?”

“But it’s such a mess that I’ve got to move quickly,” Shari answered. “Besides, we’re less than a year away from our next Joint Commission survey. What am I going to do about that?”

© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 8645

Questions:

1. Based on just the preceding information, what do you believe is probably causing most of the resistance Shari is encountering?

2. How would you recommend that Shari proceed in addressing the situation she faces?

90      Case 37: The New Broom

© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 8645

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