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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 December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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