Leadership in nursing is concerned with influencing people to achieve a purpose or to reach set organizational goals. A lot of confusion arises in the delivery of leadership roles and management in organizations. The major twist is that leaders can double up as managers for an organization. However, not all managers are good leaders. In nursing, effective leadership is very important (Bryant & Kazan, 2012). Visionary leadership encompasses the future orientations or aspects that direct an organization towards a particular goal. As a result, organizational goals are hardly realized where poor leadership is exhibited. It is important for an organization to state its vision clearly as it provides a guide to what the organization wishes to attain. Vision also provides the organization with the means of attaining its goals. It guides the work in the organization. Hofstede (2001) reveals that an organisational vision is a strategy that focuses on both its short-term and long-term objectives based on theoretical concepts. It is a tool used to control the behavior of workers in the organisation.
Over the years, there have been attempts to define the characteristics of an effective leader. Various leadership concepts such as trait, style, and situational contingency theories are used to explain the characteristics of a leader. Bryant and Kazan (2012) discuss the competency of emotional intelligence that explains self-awareness, social cognizance, and skills that make up a good leader. However, most of the leadership theories do not show characteristics that constitute an effective leader.
Leadership and Vision
According to Wang, Wang, Ruona, and Rojewski (2005), leaders must have the capacity to create a convincing vision for the organization. This kind of vision should take employees to a new level of work while translating the mental image of the organization to reality. Various sources of literature on vision and leadership have shown that a leader is the main vision holder in any organization. The leader is responsible for maintaining the dream of the profession and must be a person who is able to handle the purpose of the organization. Judge, Jackson, Shaw, Scott, and Rich (2011) posit that great leaders are the ones who manage the organization’s dream. In a study on visionary leaders by the Arbinger Institute (2012), it was discovered that visionary leaders are those who know their organization system and the ways in which it should be managed.
Leadership in Nursing
According to Harzing and Pinnington (2010), leadership in nursing calls for all nurses to acquire leadership skills. This is because leadership in nursing will look at the staff and the way they care for their patients and a nurse when in charge of the hospital. When it comes to leadership in nursing, it looks at nurses collaborating with other leaders in order to promote a shared vision in the organization. Judge et al. (2011) add that leadership in nursing should look at the external development of the organization.
Leadership Types in the Nursing Profession
According to Harzing and Pinnington (2010), there are two types of nursing leadership that work in the profession today. There are transactional leaders who are seen to be the most effective in terms of solving a crisis or when there are projects that need to be attended to right away. These types of leaders will work towards motivating employees through rewards when results are positive or punishment when the project fails. Transactional leaders are more concerned with the increasing efficiency of established routines and procedures; they look at following the vision of the organization rather than making changes (The Arbinger Institute, 2012).
Application of Leadership Styles in the Nursing Profession
When it comes to applying the above leadership styles, the manager of the head of the department needs to look at the present needs of the organization and ask himself the kind of styles that will allow the organization to realize its vision. The transactional style, for example, will be most effective when there is a medical crisis to be attended to or situations where an activity requires closer supervision. The advantage of applying this kind of style is that it enables the handling of emergency cases and provides workers with a clear vision besides promoting operation amongst the nurses.
When it comes to the application of transformational leadership style, Hofstede (2001), while studying effective leadership among executives, found that this kind of leadership was executed in four ways; democratic, authoritative, coaching, and affiliative. Authoritative leadership will inspire workers to drive toward to vision of the organization. This is most effective as it provides the organization with a mental image of what the organization should look at. Democratic leadership, on the other hand, will build on employee contribution to the profession, it encourages all to participate, and however, the final decision remains with the leader. This kind of leadership is best utilized when the leader has run out of ideas about what to do in a situation (Wang et al., 2005). However, this type of leadership takes more time and leads to a lot of costs and unresolved meetings. It also provides the impression that the nurse is a manager and not in charge. Lastly, under transactional leadership is affiliative leadership that looks into the emotional bonds a leader makes with other nurses. This kind of organizational headship plays an important role in the restoration of trust amongst employees. It is also effective in increasing communication. However, one ought to be careful as the style can lead to poor performance. Coaching leadership identifies the employees’ strengths and weaknesses and sets up a proper goal of meeting them. It looks at the nurse’s personal development since their success will also determine the organization’s success,
It can also be critical when the initiative is driven towards achieving a work environment that is focused on the patient’s wellbeing. According to a nurse executive at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Joyce Clifford, transformational leadership is paramount to the development of medical institutions since it promotes cohesiveness of workers through training and teambuilding (The Arbinger Institute, 2012). As a supporter of improved medical care in the United States, she ensures the embracement of transformational leadership in the region’s largest health facilities. This is because it was realized that transformational kind of leadership improved patient survival rates and reduced medical errors. The realization of apt transformational leadership in a health organization is derived from establishing good relations with patients, colleagues, physicians, and nurses, among others. The relationship becomes the key center for transformational leadership.
In conclusion, transformational leadership remains to be the most preferred kind of leadership in the nursing profession. It enhances the satisfaction that employees get from work and drives them towards a particular vision. Besides, transformational leadership brings about the strengthening of a positive and democratic work setting, thereby reducing employee turnover in the health facility. Transformational leadership is usually crucial in implementing change initiatives. In the modern health care environment, one of the ways that an organization leader can realize the vision of the organization will be through his or her influences. A successful relationship with the fellow staff will be most helpful in realizing the process towards the country’s vision.
Bryant, A., & Kazan, A. (2012). Self-Leadership: How to Become a More Successful, Efficient, and Effective Leader from the Inside Out. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Harzing, A., & Pinnington, A. (2010). International Human Resource Management. London: Sage.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations across Nations. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage.
Judge, T., Jackson, C., Shaw, J., Scott, B., & Rich, B. (2011). Self-Efficacy and Work Related Performance: The Integral Role of Individual Differences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(1), 107-127.
The Arbinger Institute. (2010). Leadership and self-deception: Getting out of the box. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Wang, J., Wang, G., Ruona, W., & Rojewski, J. (2005). Confucian values and the implications for international HRD. Human Resource Development International, 8(3), 311-326.