In order to develop good skills as a nurse leader, it is important to explore one’s own personality traits and identify the primary leadership style used. This allows the nurse to recognize how to transition from one method to another in certain circumstances. This develops naturally in time, but understanding it will lessen frustration and offer options when the role gets tough.
‘Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to always be done.’ Florence Nightingale (1969)
Florence Nightingale’s words are interesting because she had clearly recognized the important concept of leadership by influencing the delivery of high quality care through delegation and empowerment. Donnelly (2003) states that achieving good leadership is more of a journey than a destination and is easy to recognize in action. Yet it is difficult to define the important characteristics of a good leader. A wealth of literature discusses different types of leadership and whether individuals are born natural leaders with intrinsic personality traits or whether they can be taught the key qualities required of an effective leader (Hawkins and Thornton, 2002; Austin et al., 2003).To be an effective leader requires a complex mix of attributes, behaviour sand skills but most of all it requires an ability to reflect upon and evaluate yourself.
Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. Kurt Lewin (1939) led a group of researchers to identify different styles of leadership. This early study has been very influential and established three major leadership styles.
THREE MAJOR STYLES OF LEADERSHIP:
“I want both of you to. . .”
This is often considered the classical approach. It is one in which the manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult employees, nor are they allowed to give any input. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any explanations. The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments. This leadership style has been greatly criticized during the past 30 years. Some studies say that organizations with many autocratic leaders have higher turnover and absenteeism than other organizations. Certainly Gen X employees have proven to be highly resistant to this management style. The authoritarian leadership style or autocratic leader keeps strict, close control over followers by keeping close regulation of policies and procedures given to followers. To keep main emphasis on the distinction of the authoritarian leader and their followers, these types of leaders make sure to only create a distinct professional relationship. Direct supervision is what they believe to be the key in maintaining a successful environment and follower ship. In fear of followers being unproductive, authoritarian leaders keep close supervision and feel this is necessary in order for anything to be done. Examples of authoritarian communicative behavior: a police officer directing traffic, a teacher ordering a student to do his or her assignment, and a supervisor instructing a subordinate to clean a workstation. All of these positions require a distinct set of characteristics that give the leader the position to get things in order or get a point across. Authoritarian Traits: sets goals individually, engages primarily in one-way, downward communication, controls discussion with followers, sets goals individually, engages primarily in one-way, downward communication and donates interaction. These studies say that autocratic leaders: --Rely on threats and punishment to influence employees
--Do not trust employees
--Do not allow for employee input
Yet, autocratic leadership is not all bad. Sometimes it is the most effective style to use....
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