Leadership Greatness: How to Become ENOUGH for Yourself and Your Team

As a leader do you find yourself looking towards your team, unit, service line, or organization, and asking the question, what does great look like within us? How do I bring out the best in each of my team members, make them fit together, work together, problem solve, and become the creative greatness I know they can be? If you have the desire to learn how to push your team forward into greatness, Synova along with Cy Wakeman have developed a program for you. More to come about this new partnership next week.

We want to share a story of a team from Virginia Hospital Center struggling to perform, meet expectations, and work together. Despite challenges, the Women and Infant Service line leadership team called one another to greatness and made amazing progress in their unit.

Leadership Greatness: How to Become ENOUGH for Yourself and Your Team
Leadership Greatness: How to Become ENOUGH for Yourself and Your Team

How a Virginia Hospital Center called each other to greatness

Early in 2020, Dena Carey earned her role as Associate Vice President (AVP) of the Women and Infants at Virginia Hospital Center (VHC). Her assignment was to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes throughout labor and delivery, mother baby, and the neonatal intensive care unit in just one year. Dena is a strong nurse leader and she quickly realized that she was not going to be able to achieve this on her own. She began to build a team that would help meet the benchmark goals set by the organization. These goals included:

  • Improving HCAHPs scores
  • Minimizing turnover
  • Increasing market share
  • Creating innovative staffing solutions to help meet patient demands.

After interviewing the VHC team, several tactics and themes emerged from their story that contributed to their success.


Lisa Steves, Senior Director of Staff Development, shared “building trust was essential for learning and growing the division. We built off one another’s background and experience to capitalize on each of our strengths. Recognizing the strengths of each player, and providing support, was vital in dividing and conquering the mission for the Women and Infants Health Center.” This approach begs the question: do you trust your leadership team and lean into each other’s strengths?

Self Reflection

The VHC team has great leadership maturity and because of this they were able to provide feedback to one another without finger pointing and blame. Grace Greenan, a trained psychologist and Associate Vice President for People and Experience, was instrumental in creating a culture that values feedback and self reflection. “I acted like a consultant on this process where I could help the staff and leaders manage barriers as they occurred,” states Grace. The team implemented Grace’s expertise in effectively communicating with others in the organization to clarify overall goals.

The idea of removing the ego was something Dena embraced as she began her AVP role. Dena was familiar with Cy Wakeman’s “No Ego” and she frequently used the term “let’s Cy it out.” This phrase allowed Dena and her team to get the truth of people’s stories without blaming. “I wanted to show people how to think for themselves, and learn from their decisions,” said Dena. She was intent on sending the message that self reflection is necessary for progression and helped her staff develop, grow, and maintain accountability.


Jodi Askew, Director of Service Line Development, was the final addition to the VHC team. Jodi was tasked with growing the Women and Infants service line, patient acquisition, retention,  experience, increasing market share, and supporting staff engagement. The strategies used during this project were shared with all staff in Women and Infant Health. “We provided clarity on the method we used to arrive at our priority areas. Sharing how we got to these items was great for consensus building,” says Jodi.

Throughout the timeline, Dena had division staff meetings where she would spend time with  frontline workers to provide updates regarding the progress of division strategic goals. The staff then had the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback with Dena. In sharing division goals, she gave staff something meaningful to them, building the foundation for Women’s and Infant Health.

Education for Leaders

For most healthcare leaders, they get into a leadership position because they are seen as a great clinician. Being a great clinician doesn’t always directly translate to being a great leader. To bridge the gap between being a staff nurse to becoming a leader, VHC had to create their own education for leaders to grow and develop. Grace shared, “we had to identify how to help our new leaders. Coaching and developing people towards VHC goals and expectations allowed us to train the right people for Dena’s staff.”

Leadership education is important to provide for new leaders, especially if there are big cultural and process changes that need to occur. Lisa and Dena renewed their onboarding process to align with the new vision of building a team perspective across labor and delivery and mother-baby. They accomplished this by adding a personalized human approach to leadership that improved retention.

Leadership Greatness

The Virginia Hospital Center, Women and Infant Health Center team called each other to greatness to meet their organizational goals. The team had each other to fall back on as they moved through their process. We asked the VHC team how their journey would have been different if they were able to utilize the Cy Wakeman Leadership Development courses that will be offered in the new Synova Certificate Program. We will share VHC’s response and how to be ENOUGH for your team and yourself in next week’s Executive Summary “Synova’s Certificate of Advanced Nurse Leadership.”

Leadership Greatness: How to Become ENOUGH for Yourself and Your Team

We will share VHC’s response and how to be ENOUGH for your team and yourself in next week’s Executive Summary “Synova’s Certificate of Advanced Nurse Leadership.” To learn more about Cy Wakeman and the release of the nurse leader development program follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SynovaAssociates