Leadership in Nursing and Related Theories

Introduction

Over the years, many theories have been developed concerning leadership. These theories try to explain the qualities that distinguish leaders from followers, and which leadership styles are the most suitable to apply in any situation. As the leader of a team, it is one’s duty to ensure that the team achieves the goals for which it was constituted to achieve (Northouse, 2010).

This means that one has to adopt the most appropriate leadership models and exhibit the relevant leadership traits for the situation. One’s success as a leader will highly depend on the contributions of the followers that he/she has. Followers help in implementing plans and give the leader advice and support. A good leader must therefore know how to relate to followers in a way that will best help in achieving the team’s goals (Adair, 2012).

The health environment is very busy. Additionally, nurses usually work under a lot of pressure. To ensure that the services that they offer are effective and efficient, nurses need to work as a team to accomplish all the tasks that have been assigned to them. The nursing profession also requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. In this respect, therefore, nurses need to be motivated enough to bring out the best in them. As a team leader for a group of nurses, one can achieve great results by following the model of strength-based leadership as explained by leadership consultant Barry Conchie and author Tom Rath.

Strength-Based Leadership

According to the strength-based leadership model, there are three things that an individual needs to apply so that he/she becomes an effective leader (Rath & Conchie, 2009). First, a leader must know his/her strengths and the strengths of others in the team. He/she must also know how to invest in these strengths and use them to help the team achieve its goals.

A good leader should know how to spot these strengths quickly in people so that he/she can start harnessing them for the benefit of the team. Secondly, a good leader should be able to get people with the right strengths into the team. These strengths may be highly varied, but each should be able to contribute something to the team so that they complement each other.

Thirdly, one must exhibit the leadership qualities that are expected of them by his/her followers. At the end of the day, the members of your team are your followers and they will be looking up to you for leadership. They are only going to respect you as a leader if you are able to guide and manage them effectively and make the team achieve its goals. Therefore, one needs to know the qualities that make a good leader. He should then know how to apply these qualities in the best possible way to make the team achieve its goals (Northouse, 2010).

Leadership Roles

As the leader of a team of nurses, one must personify the most important qualities that are required in the nursing field. First, one must be technically competent and possess all the knowledge and skills required of a nurse. This will bring professional respect and make it easier for members of the nursing team to listen to and follow the lead nurse.

One must also show enthusiasm for the job to inspire enthusiasm in the rest. The work of a nurse requires a lot of motivation, and this should come from the lead nurse. As with all leadership positions, one must display integrity to generate trust and earn the respect of the nurses in the team (Adair, 2012).

Other qualities that the leader of a team of nurses should possess include toughness, fairness, warmth, and humility. According to John Adair, for one to be an effective leader, he/she must meet three sets of needs. These are the needs of the task at hand, the needs of the team as one unit handling the task, and the needs of each member of the team as an individual. This is very important since the team is composed of different individuals who must work as one unit to achieve their goals.

Domains of Leadership Strengths

Tom Rath and Barry Conchie came up with four domains of leadership strengths based on a Gallup study that was done on thousands of leadership teams over several decades. Each member of the team possesses individually unique strengths, but the most successful teams are the ones that displayed a wide variety of strengths. According to Rath and Conchie, the four distinct domains of leadership strengths are executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking (p. 15).

  • Executing: Leaders who put a lot of effort into ensuring that they achieve the goals and objectives that have been set under their docket. When it comes to executing a plan, these are the people who will work extra hard to ensure it is done.
  • Influencing: People who have the ability to influence others will come in handy when you need to convince members of your team, and even outsiders, to embrace certain ideas. These are the people who will speak up and make sure that your message is heard.
  • Relationship building: In any team, it is necessary to form links between the individual members to enhance their performance as a cohesive unit. Having people who are good at building relationships will ensure that the team thinks as one unit when going about their tasks.
  • Strategic thinking: Having strategic thinkers in the team ensures that the team stays focused on its tasks. They are usually concerned with analyzing situations and coming up with better solutions. They also think about the future and will come in handy when planning the team’s activities.

According to the Gallup study, a team would perform best if it had members representing each of these domains of leadership strength. Any team that gets contributions from all four domains will be very strong and cohesive. Furthermore, followers will be looking up to the leader to earn their trust, bring stability, inspire hope, and show compassion (Rath & Conchie, 2009).

Conclusion

There are several leadership theories that can be adopted by a person leading a team of nurses. These theories promote certain qualities and strategies that one would need to effectively lead the team in achieving its goals. However, there is no one theory that is absolute for any given situation. A good leader must be able to adapt to his or her situation and know which leadership style to apply to achieve the best results. There are some core qualities of a good leader that one must possess.

The leader must also know how to effectively harness the different strengths of the team members and make them work as one unit to achieve their goals. In the end, the leader must ensure that the needs of the members, as individuals and as a team, are met to be successful.

References

Adair, J. (2012). Leadership Models and Theories. Surrey: Capstone Publishing.

Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Rath, T., & Conchie, B. (2009). Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and why People Follow. New York: Gallup Press.