AACN Chapter Leadership Development Workshop Case Study #1 – Version 2

Case Study #1:

Chapter Officer: To Be or Not to Be; That is the Question

(Fictitious) Chapter Name:

Greater Tornado Alley Chapter

# of Chapter Members:


# of Chapter Officers and Board Members:

  • Five Officers (president, president-elect, treasurer, treasurer-elect, secretary)
  • Five board members/chairs of committees
  • All positions are filled 

Rural/Urban Area:


How active is this chapter?

Very active with large educational programs

Background Information:

Very large chapter that has been around for over 35 years.
Lots of members with various needs; not all are active in chapter positions, but typically large attendance to educational events.

Conflict or Issues:

A previously active member was voted as president-elect this past year. She was considered to have a strong outgoing personality and great leadership skills.

After being voted in as president-elect she was unable to attend the transition meeting due to competing priorities. Starting school, she requested the monthly meeting day be changed to accommodate her needs.

The board thought this would be too confusing to members since they had had the same time/place for the past 10 years. She stated she understood and would find a way to work it out, but never attended one meeting all year long.

She also failed to return phone calls, emails and texts. She did contact the board about attending LDW/NTI and her "stipend" for attending.

The president arranged two meetings with her (she picked the time/date) and she failed to show up. The president sent her a registered email stating they needed to talk ASAP.

After finally talking to her, but only briefly, the president-elect insisted on being Ppresident next year and she was committed to the chapter stating that she has been an active member for the past three to five years and it is her time.

It is two days prior to LDW.

Things you need to know about this chapter:

Very strong personalities with a majority of officers having advanced degrees and their own ideas about “running things.” Many of them seek out officer positions for the professional development.

Chapter is well funded and money is not an issue when considering events.


Participants: Identify the HWE standard(s) that would apply to this scenario and how you would operationalize them as you consider possible solutions.

(X) Skilled Communication
(X) True Collaboration
(X) Effective Decision Making
(  ) Appropriate Staffing
(  ) Meaningful Recognition
(X) Authentic Leadership

  • Not meeting expectations
  • Doesn't attend meetings
  • Leadership did not provide clear expectations of the position?
  • Involvement in chapter planning
  • Why commit to more than you can handle?
  • Was going back to school a workplace requirement?
  • When asked to take position, was a job description readily provided?
    • Are you able to meet these expectations?
  • Could the board have accommodated the president-elect's request?
  • Did they make it clear?
    • Change schedule to meet her needs?
    • What do we do for her?
    • “We” needs of one over needs of many.
  • School — prioritizing
  • Need to have roles/responsibilities
  • Tools: ACN Chapter Governance Manual
  • Clearly communicate expectations

Skilled Communication: Crucial conversations need to occur for lack of commitment and attendance.

  • Use of email and require an acknowledgement response.
  • Use electronic archiving to pass on information.
  • Expectations from the board, AACN governance.
  • Telecommunication

Authentic Leadership

  • Based on behavior — no authentic leadership
  • No self-awareness and seems selfish
  • Level of intimidation with communicating with someone who has more experience
  • She needs to step down — self-reflection

True Collaboration

  • Why couldn't the meeting date be changed to accommodate the president-elect?
  • Know your resources and use them.
  • Change calendar monthly — varying scripts — emails.

Effective Decision Mking

  • She should have made the decision to step down once identified that commitment could not be fulfilled.
  • Knowing how to make effective decisions (officers only or member-inclusive).
  • Are we continuing to do the same things that we've always done just because that's the way we've always done it?
  • Multimodal communication.

Appropriate Staffing

  • Accommodating monthly meetings to nurses' scheduling.
  • Matching leaders' talents to the right position.
  • Change days — never considered before.
  • Chapter level and matching talents to job.
  • Who you are.
    • What you do.
    • 1-2 talents.
    • “Please don’t ask me to_______.
  •  Positions were predefined.
    •  Are you willing to accept this nomination?
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