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What are the 7 nursing leadership styles and management qualities?

Nurses and other healthcare professionals discussing a patient care plan

7 nursing leadership and management styles and qualities

Leadership in nursing is vital to helping navigate the constant evolution of the healthcare sector. Nurse leaders do more than keep costs in check; they keep an eye on productivity and make sure that both patients and staff are happy. Strong nurse leaders inspire their colleagues, establishing the tone for a safe, civil workplace with high morale and a job retention culture. Nursing leadership and management are highly skilled healthcare jobs

This article will discuss various nursing leadership styles as well as critical skills for nurse leaders and managers. 

7 nursing leadership styles 

Nursing leadership styles can influence job satisfaction, nurse retention rates, care quality, and patient outcomes. The nursing leadership style is influenced by their educational background, personality, and work environment. Following are the 7 nursing leadership styles: 

1. Transformational leadership 

Also known as quiet leadership style, it is a type of innovative management style wherein the employees are motivated to take ownership of their roles and exceed expectations. In this style of nursing leadership, leaders make sure that employees are aware of their roles and carry them out without any direction from the top level. They motivate and help find ways for employees to achieve and exceed their goals by maintaining good rapport among themselves. 

Transformational nursing leadership style is applicable in organisations that already have an organisational structure in place and seek to improve and expand on the existing process. This nursing leadership style is beneficial when the healthcare facility needs to make some significant changes. 

2. Autocratic leadership 

Autocratic leaders make decisions with little to no consultation with their employees as they are hands-on in making quick decisions. Autocratic leaders give out tasks and directions when needed, but they don't like it when things go wrong. They often don't pass information to their team because they think it's pointless since they can't change the outcome. This creates a culture at work in which an employee's ideas and knowledge aren't valued, and making decisions as a group is very difficult. In emergency situations where quick decisions are required, the autocratic nursing leadership style is beneficial. 

3. Laissez-faire leadership 

Laissez-faire nursing leadership is popular among new or inexperienced leaders. It means not getting involved in nursing and giving team members as little guidance as possible. This encourages staff creativity and initiative at the expense of guidance or direction, allowing team members to work as they please, and such leaders lack decision-making skills. The laissez-faire nursing leadership style is effective in healthcare settings where the nurse has extensive experience and can work independently.  

4. Democratic leadership 

In the democratic style of nursing leadership, team members are encouraged to give feedback, talk to each other, and give their opinions when decisions are being made. This is a collaborative style of leadership in which the leader encourages personal and professional growth through constructive feedback and puts the focus on the success of the team. Democratic leaders ensure that their team members are at ease in the workplace, value relationships, and are encouraged to express their concerns, ideas, and opinions. This nursing leadership style is effective in high-reliability organisations that value transparency. 

5. Servant leadership 

The servant nursing leadership style involves building relationships with team members and helping them develop their skills. Such leaders are relationship-oriented as they work to serve the interests of their team members. Servant leaders naturally care for one another and ensure that their team members have the necessary tools and resources to excel. Servant leaders create goal-driven environments that prioritise employee development, making their team trust and believe in their advice. 

The servant nursing leadership style is beneficial in healthcare organisations where the leader must manage a multidisciplinary team with varying specialisations, roles, and resource needs. This management style is ideal for new nurses who require someone empathetic and willing to look at mistakes as opportunities to foster growth. 

6. Situational leadership 

The situational nursing leadership style is flexible, as the nurse leader modifies the management style to the needs of the organisation. In the case of this nursing leadership style, the nurse leader must evaluate the situation prevailing in the organisation to determine which approach is appropriate. They have the freedom to modify the nursing leadership style as necessary. One of the major drawbacks of this style is that leaders often get diverted from the organisation's long-term strategies and goals. Situational leaders encourage participation, communicate their viewpoints to avoid confusion due to changing approaches, give detailed directions, and are honest with staff. 

7. Transactional leadership 

Also known as the managerial leadership style, it focuses on organising and controlling staff and their workload. These leaders choose a reward and punishment strategy in which nurses are rewarded and punished based on their performance. Transactional leaders prioritise efficiency over team morale and provide nursing staff with clear rules, instructions, and specific orders to follow. 

Transactional leaders focus on the organization's current goals and are unconcerned about its future. However, they are good at problem-solving, as they take an evidence-based and task-oriented approach to formulating emergency response solutions. This nursing leadership style is extremely effective in ensuring that employees understand what is expected of them because the structure is fundamental to it. 

Nursing leadership qualities 

A nurse leader combines the essential nursing, business, and leadership skills gained through ongoing learning to help staff and organisations achieve their respective goals. They must be flexible to adapt to technological changes, fluctuating payment methods, new treatment modalities, and regulatory and legislative environments. The following are the critical nursing leadership qualities: 

1. Communication and collaboration 

These skills help people talk to each other better, make decisions together, and feel like they are working towards the same goal. 

2. Education and practice quality 

Continuing professional development helps nursing leaders keep up with all the changes in the healthcare environment and strive for excellence by supporting quality, evidence-based practice. 

3. Environmental health and resource utilisation 

Nursing leadership ensures that patient care can be provided in a safe and healthy environment while promoting wellness among all healthcare workers. 

4. Ethics and professional practice evaluation 

Influential nursing leaders follow ethical practices to guide decisions, display honesty by being accountable for their actions, and evaluate their adherence to professional practice standards. 

5. Professionalism and leadership 

Nursing leaders form critical relationships and collaborate with various healthcare teams on sensitive issues. Nursing leaders can use critical thinking skills to analyse decisions that affect the organisation. Then they clearly explain the rationale in a way that encourages staff support. 

6. Emotional intelligence and integrity 

A nursing leader's role is dependent on emotional intelligence when interacting with patients and teammates. The ability to care for patients while empathising with colleagues is critical for achieving an ideal relationship. They must also be able to teach and apply ethical practices to new nurses to help them make the best decisions for patients. 

Nursing leadership skills also include compassion, time management, and other interpersonal relationship-building skills in order to gain respect. 

Nurses Group is the leading nursing staffing agency in Yeovil, with branches throughout the UK. We hire nurses who can work in any healthcare facility and give patients the best care possible. Visit our careers page to learn about the various job openings

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