Donna Strickland Blog

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

The Most Potent Factor in the Success Equation

Star performers can be differentiated from average ones by emotional intelligence. For jobs of all kinds, emotional intelligence is twice as important as a person’s intelligence quotient and technical skills combined. Excellent performance by top-level managers adds directly to a company’s “hard” results, such as increased profitability, lower costs, and improved customer retention. Those with high emotional intelligence enhance “softer” results by contributing to increased morale and motivation, greater cooperation, and lower turnover. The author discusses the five components of emotional intelligence, its role in facilitating organizational change, and ways to increase an organization’s emotional intelligence.

Although rapid-fire change in health care continues to wreak havoc in organizations, it is now considered ordinary. In fact, the chaotic milieu in which health care organizations find themselves is no longer considered noteworthy.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Emotional Intellligence, Free Resources.

Saving Your Career in the 21st Century

by Donna Strickland and O. C. O’Connell

This article addresses the fundamental and dramatic changes that case managers must undergo internally to keep pace with a rapidly and radically changing work environment as we move into the next millennium The work paradigm is transforming from a model of well-defined job descriptions and clearly articulated career ladders within organizations to a fluid workforce in which individuals must now view themselves as a mobile portfolio of skills responding to particular needs within organizations ‘Hence, case managers must retool their thinking, unlearn old beliefs that hinder success, and learn to manage their careers as micro-businesses within their organizations. This new model is founded on self-responsibility, entrepreneurial aptitude, vision and personal empowerment. Taking charge of one’s career and consciously directing it is a dramatic departure from the norm for most individuals.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

Overcome Terminal Seriousness


This article examines physiological and psychological benefits of laughter and humor. These are essential tools that can successfully combat the stress and pressure of the preoperative environment. Used in tandem with ‘life balancing skills,’ they can enrich the work arena and help nurses rekindle passion and meaning in their lives.

Copyright © 1999 by W.B. Saunders Company

You turn a corner in the hall only to witness one of the most infamous, degrading, and most cliched scenes in the hospital: an arrogant, self-righteous surgeon is screaming at an OR nurse about something so ridiculous it would be laughable if it were not so infuriating. Your own blood pressure escalates as you walk by, but then something amazing happens. You hear the voice of your colleague, a genteel Southern woman, say in a slow Alabama drawl, “Pardon me for interrupting, doctor.” The neurosurgeon is so stunned by this audacious act that he stops screaming.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

Is Humor Healing

Joseph Campbell said, “We are here to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.” I call my friend up on the phone. She’s been hard to get…distant…running scared. Her mother was buried three weeks ago. “Can you meet me at Dairy Queen? We could get a yogurt. You don’t have to talk. I just want to see the whites of your eyes.” Silence. A deep sigh. “Okay, I’ll meet you there,” she whispers. We meet. We stand in line for what seems like forever, with children laughing all around us. We watch them silently, old friends, Deb and I.

Our eyes glisten. It was only three months ago that the foster child she’d had since birth had been given back to the biological dad. Seems like too much to happen to one woman in such a short amount of time.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

Good Grief: Beginning at the End

When your workplace is reorganized–again–take time to reevaluate your personal mission and desires and bring them to life.

By Donna Strickland, MS, RN, CS, and 0. C. O’Connell, MBA

You know that being in the health care industry is like riding a roller coaster that just won’t quit. Everyone who is connected to this business has felt her feet fly out from the safety of terra firma, has been turned upside down and sent speeding through lightning quick changes on a ride that seems to be moving too fast to get off. You barely implement new directives when a counterrevolution is led by the next team of experts. Your survival instinct tells you to hang on for the ride.

Hanging on is a good place to start, but it’s only a first step–a primitive defense mechanism designed to let you get your bearings.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

7 Keys to 21st Century Leadership

As the old psychological contract between individual and organization continues to unravel, many of us are trying to figure out how to lead, provide motivational environments and plan for the future in this uncharted and “permanent white water” work environment.

Being a 21st Century Leader requires new behaviors and new learnings. I will identify some of these new leadership skills in this paper. The leader’s ability to learn how to learn, along with his/her values, self-insight and helping skills are the foundation of productive “new world” organizations.

Following are 7 Keys to 21st Century Leadership.

  1. Learn how to facilitate transitions…constant rapidly changing transitions. Know the difference between change and transition, know the 3 phases of transition. Know specific intervention skills for each phase. The primary leadership task for the 21st Century is harnessing the human spirit to help customers.
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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

Balancing Life’s Choices

You are scrubbing for the next procedure when your pager goes off. It is the day care center letting you know your son is sick and needs to be picked up. Next, your boss stops by to say your committee meeting has been changed to 4 PM–the same time as your daughter’s soccer game. Meanwhile, you are thinking about where your ATM card could possibly be and where you will find the cash to go out for lunch. No need to worry if you cannot eat out–you can wait until tonight’s dinner plans with friends. Unfortunately, you do not really like these friends much, but you feel obligated to go because they made a nice contribution to your church’s annual silent auction.

Reaching the breaking point.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.