Submitted to Jeanne Morrison PhD, MSN in partial fulfillment of NR622 Advanced Leadership Concepts
October 15, 2011
Nursing leaders are crucial to any nursing organization. They motivate, empower, influence, and communicate the organization’s vision to create change within the organization. Great nursing leadership depends on great nursing leaders. This paper will define nursing leadership and describe leadership characteristics. It will further depict the democratic style and transformational theory of nursing leadership. While exploring leadership in action, this paper will illustrate the aspects of nursing. Nursing Leadership Definition
“Leadership has many different meanings” (Northouse, 2010, p. 2). Leadership defines a process where the leader influences others to achieve a common goal. Nursing leadership involves a process, which includes influence, working with groups, and working to attain common goals as per evidenced based practice. As with the process of leadership, characteristics are the framework of leadership. Spears (2002) writes having something in trust for someone, helping someone to heal, and understanding and accepting others are basic characteristics to possess in order to be a leader. All of the following characteristics incorporate a life-long learning experience to achieve leadership. Awareness and listening are the most important, because the meaning of what one is saying is more important than the spoken word. Persuading others, to look beyond themselves and think of the team as a whole, is crucial to successful leadership. To execute a strategic plan, leadership requires developing foresight to project for the future growth of the community. Over time, a leader learns to develop staff. Staff development requires a directive approach early in the new nurse’s job and evolves into a supportive approach as the nurse demonstrates a high level of confidence and skill to get the job done (Northouse, 2010). Conceptualization is articulating and involving the team in analyzing the pro’s and con’s of a process. While developing characteristics, leaders develop styles of leadership depending on situations arising within the team dynamics. Synonymous in many literary resources, styles and theories characterize nurse leadership. Research demonstrates basic styles include autocratic, bureaucratic, laissez-faire, and democratic, or participative leadership. Northouse (2010) describes a continuum of participative leadership style, which proposes the leaders and followers behaviors influence each other. Nursing leadership depends on the skill of determining which style of leadership to use centering on the follower’s needs. Democratic style of leadership allows everyone to work together to make decisions or to solve problems. This style addresses nursing leadership as it fosters team satisfaction and personal self-worth by empowering nurses in the decision-making process. A leader understands the follower’s perspective and the follower’s feel they have a stake in the organization. A leadership style refers to the way in which a leader implements a theory of nursing leadership. Three theories of nursing leadership include transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire. Sharing a vision and eliciting decision-making by the group is the basis of transformational theory. Transactional leadership occurs when rewarding the team for goals met or providing oversight only when a problem occurs. Allowing staff with high motivation to proceed with their duties with little supervision is laissez-faire leadership. Out of several theories, transformational leadership fits nursing leadership due to the relationship between the leader and the follower. This theory describes an interdependent relationship between the two. “Staff nurses at the bedside 24 hours a day, seven days a week are on the front...