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5 Different Nursing Leadership Styles And Their Impact On Patient Outcomes

5 Different Nursing Leadership Styles And Their Impact On Patient Outcomes

The world’s population is aging. This aging population is also living a lot longer. In fact, by 2050 16% of the world’s population will be 65 years of age and older. The number of people aged 85 and over will also increase by 351% while the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by 188%.

Many of the increased elderly will inevitably suffer from chronic diseases. Currently 4 out of 5 elderly people in the United States have multiple chronic medical conditions and 60% of people aged 67 or older have 3 or more chronic illnesses.

This aging population, and the increase of chronic illnesses, will increase the need for professional and high quality nurses. This is why 1.12 million nurses are anticipated to be needed for new jobs or replacement between 2012 and 2022. These nurses will need to be highly skilled and able to work in a variety of potential settings.

Changing View of Nurses

In the past nurses have typically been viewed as subordinates without a need for leadership skills or capabilities. They were not expected to be leaders in the healthcare field and this lowered the respect and expectations associated with the position.

Luckily times have changed. In today’s world nurses are viewed as important healthcare partners and are increasingly involved in the leadership of dynamic healthcare teams. They are being required to take on new responsibilities, and also remain up to date with the advancements in medical technology and the constantly evolving healthcare trends. They are expected to be extremely competent and participate in a high level of education like the cutting edge programs being offered. Most importantly the next generation of nurses will be expected to take a hands-on role as competent leaders in the healthcare field.

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Nursing Leadership Styles

Nurses have the unique opportunity to apply leadership styles in a way that can also affect patient outcomes. Here are some of the leadership styles and traits that every nurse should know:

1. Transactional Leadership

Transactional leaders ensure staff compliance through a system of punishments and rewards. Every interaction is based on a transaction. When a person follows instructions and obtains an objective, they receive a reward. When they fail to follow an instruction or meet an objective, they are disciplined.

When practicing this style of leadership there is a high priority on supervision. This can be a very effective style for managing a crisis or ensuring that projects are completed with a high level of detail.

2. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders tend to lead by example. When followers see this example, they are inspired to change or do better. Transformational leaders also demonstrate that they truly care about their followers and their best interests. They accomplish this by putting the needs and priorities of the organization above their own.

They have a clear vision and they use that vision to motivate their staff members. Innovation is embraced and people are encouraged to generate new ideas. This can be a very effective style for managing teams that need to implement a significant change.

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3. Democratic Leadership

These leaders encourage everyone on the team to have a voice in the decision making process. There is a focus on open communication and ensuring that everyone feels like they are heard. There is a lot of focus on processes and the best way to influence situations.

Staff members are empowered with responsibilities and held accountable for meeting goals. This style requires a lot of feedback and can be very effective when the quality of organizational systems or processes need to be improved.

4. Authoritarian Leadership

This can best be described as the opposite of democratic leadership. With this style the leader makes all of the decisions which results in a much faster decision making process. The power is retained at the top and that is also where the knowledge and information is kept.

Staff members are often made an example of, if they make a mistake and are punished in front of their peers. Issues are always assumed to be the fault of the individual staff member and never the system or process. This style can be effective in emergencies where immediate decisions need to be made.

5. Laissez-faire Leadership

When this style is practiced there is very little supervision. There is a very hands-off approach. People are trusted to do well on their own with very little guidance. Independent thinking is promoted, but it can stall the decision making process and result in few changes being made in the workplace.

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There is little attention to quality improvement. This style can be effective when you are dealing with an experienced team who require little direction. However, it is commonly practiced by inexperienced leaders and leaders who are just waiting to transition.

How Leadership Styles Impact Patient Outcomes

There have been many studies that have evaluated how the leadership styles of nurses affect patient outcomes. For example, studies have found that the practice of transformational leadership by nurses is associated with reduced medication errors. This is believed to be because people are more careful when being led with this approach. Studies have also shown that this style produces lower patient mortality rates due to a better quality of care and treatment.

Studies continue to prove that relational types of leadership, styles which include transformation and collaboration, result in a higher level of patient satisfaction. In other words, patients report that they are happier when nurses practice these styles. This reduces the need for restraint and increases the level of patient cooperation.

How Leadership Styles Impact Hospital Staff

Studies have also shown that transformational leadership plays an important role in creating a safe and happy work environment. Hospitals that practice this style of leadership have a lower level of turnover when compared to other hospitals.

 When a laissez-faire style of leadership is used on the other hand, studies have shown that it negatively impacts teamwork and socialization. This creates a culture where blame is prevalent and stress in increased. Turnover is ultimately increased.

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Nurses are also able to easily tell the difference between transactional and transformational leadership. They are overwhelmingly in favor of the transformational style. They cite intrinsic motivation and improved job satisfaction as the main reasons behind this choice.

Conclusion

The world is changing and a new generation of nurses is needed to help meet the demand of the evolving healthcare community. These nurses are expected to take on a leadership role within the hospital making their knowledge of effective leadership styles critical.

They should know the strengths and weaknesses of the styles and when is the best time to implement each one. This should be based on their knowledge of the situation and each style’s effect on patient outcomes. This will help to ensure that all patients receive the optimal level of care as we continue to confront the challenges of our new healthcare realities.

Featured photo credit: i.huffpost.com via i.huffpost.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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