N588 Leadership Styles & Theories

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Autocratic leadership style
Decision making: makes them independently with no input from others
Task driven
Little creativity
Short on humor
Difficult for staff to be “heard”
Decisions need to be made quickly, when there’s no need for input, and when team agreement isn’t necessary for a successful outcome
When to use autocratic leadership
Code, crisis situation, military, bureaucratic settings
Might be useful when quick action or critical decisions must be made in which everyone must perform in the same way
Disadvantages of autocratic leadership
In general, it is ineffective with professionals and creates workplace issues
Democratic leadership style
Consultative: allows team input on decision, but degree of input varies
Decision making
Empowers individuals
Acts as coach, team leader
Important when team agreement matters, but it can be difficult to manage when there are lots of different perspectives and ideas
When to use democratic leadership
Manager of a floor, good when cooperation and collaboration is necessary
Might be useful when sufficient time is available or when the group must agree on a plan
In general, this approach is effective in healthcare and helps reinforce the concept of team
Especially effective when a group is dealing with a quality initiative
Disadvantages of democratic leadership
If there are lots of differing opinions it’s hard to come to an agreement
Laissez-faire leadership style
Non-directive, non-interfering
Permissive: allows team to make decisions
Works well when the team is highly capable, motivated, and doesn’t need close supervision
When to use laissez-faire leadership
Physicians letting the med students lead
Disadvantages of laissez-faire leadership
Problems can arise because the leader is lazy or distracted
Trait leadership theory
Physical and emotional characteristics that inspire others

Early belief that leadership qualities are innate; later others believed they can be learned and improved upon

Self-awareness of traits is useful for personal growth, but is a limited theory

Great leaders share many of the same personality traits

Style/exchange leadership theory
What do they do in relational and contextual terms, 360-degree feedback is obtained

Leaders are employee-centered

Developed because of the limitations of trait theory

Style theories focus on what leaders do in relational and contextual terms

The achievement of satisfactory performance measures requires supervisors to pursue effective relationships with their subordinates while comprehending the factors in the work environment that influence outcomes

Situational-contingency leadership theory
Degree of trust/respect, task structure, positional power, style of leadership dependent upon situation; can change as needed.

These theorists believed that leadership effectiveness depends on the relationship among:
1) the leader’s task at hand
2) his or her interpersonal skills, and
3) the favorableness of the work situation

The 3 critical factors must be present

Leaders viewed as able to adapt their style according to the presenting situation

Transformational leadership theory
Attends to needs/motives of followers; leader is a role model, more recent theory and more effective in current health care settings

Refers to a process whereby the leader attends to the needs and motives of followers so that the interaction raises each to high levels of motivation and morality

The leader is a role model who inspires followers through displayed optimism, provides intellectual stimulation, and encourages follower creativity

Applying trait leadership theory to practice
Self-awareness of traits is useful in self-development (e.g. developing assertiveness)

Seeking employment that matches traits (drive, motivation, integrity etc.)

Applying style/exchange leadership theory to practice
Leaders need to obtain feedback from followers, superiors, and peers, such as through Managerial Grid Instrument

Employee-centered leaders tend to be the leaders most able to achieve effective work environments and productivity

Applying situational-contingency leadership theory to practice
These theories consider the challenge of a situation and encourage an adaptive leadership style to complement the issue being faced

Nurses must assess each situation and determine appropriate action based on the people involved

Applying transformational leadership theory to practice
Transformed organizations are responsive to customer needs, are morally and ethically intact, promote employee development, and encourage self-management

Nurse leaders with transformational characteristics experiment with systems redesign, empower staff, create enthusiasm for practice, and promote scholarship of practice at the patient-side

3 critical factors for situational-cotingency leadership
1) the degree of trust and respect between leaders and followers
2) the task structure denoting the clarity of goals and the complexity of problems faced
3) the position power in terms of where the leader was able to reward followers and exert influence
Hersey Blanchard situational leadership theory
All leadership styles are used based upon the context of the situation and consider the maturity level of the follower
leads based on situation
Adapt to the situation
degree of trust/respect, task structure, positional power
style of leadership dependent upon situation; can change as needed
Transformational vs. transactional
Transformational: motivates using influence and persuasion, not using rewards/punishment
attends to needs/motives of followers; leader is a role model
more recent theory and more effective in current healthcare settings
Transformational leadership
Based on an inspirational vision that changes the framework of the organization for employees
Employees are encouraged to transcend their own self-interest
Involves communication that connects with employees’ ideas in a way that causes emotional engagement
5 key practices of transformational leadership
Challenging the process
Inspiring shared vision
Enabling others to act
Modeling the way
Encouraging the heart (ex. saying thank you)
Transactional leadership
The traditional “boss” image
Employees understand that a superior makes the decisions with little or no input from subordinates
Relies on the power of organizational position and formal authority to reward and punish
Transformational leader behaviors
Charismatic, inspiring and motivating, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration
Transactional leader behaviors
Contingent reward (quid pro quo), punitive, management by exception (active)- monitors performance and takes action to correct, management by exception (passive)- intervenes only when problems exist
Transformational leadership effect of follower
A shared vision, increased self-worth, challenging and meaningful work, coaching and mentoring happens, feeling valued
Transactional leadership effect of follower
Fulfills the contract or gets punished, does the work and gets paid, errors are corrected in a reactive manner
Organizational outcomes of transformational leadership
Increased loyalty, increased commitment, increased job satisfaction, increased morale and performance
Organizational outcomes of transactional leadership
Work is supervised and completed according to the rules, deadlines are met, limited job satisfaction, low to stable levels of commitment
Categories: Leadership