November 20, 2010
Transitions to Professional Nursing
Leadership Styles in Professional Nursing
Leadership is a very important aspect within the realm of Nursing. With constantly evolving technology, poor economics leading to major hospital cutbacks, and healthcare reforms, strong nursing leadership has never been more important or necessary. Hood (2010) defines leadership as a process of influencing others to attain mutually agreed upon goals. We will discuss the differences between leadership and management. In addition, we will examine 2 types of leadership styles: Transactional and Transformational and address the effectiveness of both styles in achieving high quality of nursing performance. Leadership vs. Management
Many people think of management and leadership as interchangeable. However, there is a stark difference between the two. In defining leadership and management, the one crucial difference is that a person with leadership has the ability to persuade/influence others into following their vision and putting the needs of a group ahead of an individual’s own personal needs (McGuire & Kinnerley, 2006). Leaders have this ability to inspire by employing enthusiasm, hope, optimism, and innovative methods. Leadership does entail having some management characteristics, but lacks the positional power to bring their visions to life. Management is usually an appointed position within a company (Hood, 2010). Performance standards for managers often require emphasis on transactional projects such as budgets, productivity, and quality monitoring (McGuire & Kinnerley, 2006). Management does not equate to having leadership abilities because an organization’s structure often dictates that a manager’s priority should be facilitating and promoting smooth operations within a workplace (Carney, 2009). Managers are troubleshooters and problem solvers, who are more or less interested in maintaining production and profits.
In 1978, James McGregor Burn (1978) developed the theory of transformational leadership and described it, “A process that motivates subordinates by appealing to higher ideals and moral values”. A transformational leader is someone that helps shape development of staff through empowerment and stimulating creativity and innovation within the workplace (Sellgren, Ekvell, & Tomson, 2006). Under this style of leadership, relationships to employees and concern for their well-being is just as important as completing the tasks (Hood, 2010). The transformational leader often uses their enthusiasm, close underlying interpersonal relationships, and vision to increase the motivation of their peers/co-workers to stay persistent and diligent through completion of organizational goals and tasks. This type of leadership can be equally effective under the most stressful circumstances by keeping focus on employee satisfaction and promising the employee a better future (Allen, 1998). According to S. Sellgren et al. (2006), studies have shown a correlation between transformational leadership and nursing quality. Transformational leadership has been proven very effective in increasing productivity and staff cohesion. As a result of staff cohesion, consensus amongst staff evolves and develops. Consensus is effective because all persons feel that they have made a contribution in the decision-making process regarding unit practices/policies. And although it takes more time to reach a consensus, the participants have made a commitment to execute the decisions (Hood, 2010). Transactional Leadership
Transactional leadership uses strategy that is founded on the principles of incentives and punishments (Hood, 2010). Motivation is thought to be derived from responses to positive and negative reinforcers. If employees or subordinates perform hard work and meet certain criteria or expectations, then they are rewarded with something of value...