All workers, regardless of their positions, impact the organization’s development, but a leader has the principal contribution to the formation of corporate culture, employees’ engagement, and their overall performance. Nevertheless, there are different approaches and views, each of which determines its own set of skills and functions needed for effective and real leadership. This paper aims at examining three leadership models, namely, autocratic, laissez-faire, and participative styles, as well as defining the difference between a leader and a manager. In addition, the paper will discuss the personal experience related to the different types of leadership in nursing practice and their influence on the job.
Three Leadership Models
Autocratic leadership is the ultimate task-oriented leadership style that implies keeping total control over a team, stimulating employees via punishments, rules, and rewards. Such leaders tend to establish only a formal professional relationship. To be authoritarian leader, an individual should possess the following features: making decisions and setting goals independently, dominating interactions, adhering to a strict routine and schedule, and absolute authority (Rahbi et al., 2017). It is worth noting that this leadership type is relevant in urgent and critical situations requiring quick results, but it impacts employees’ creativity, morale, loyalty, and initiative adversely.
The laissez-faire model is the extremely people-oriented leadership style assuming that the full authority to make decisions is entirely delegated to a group of followers. This leadership type is characterized by no or little concern for the production, decision-making process, workflow, and the long-term success of an organization. The style is appropriate in the cases when a manager is surrounded by capable, competent, highly motivated, and experienced employees (Rahbi et al., 2017). However, the model is defective in situations needing immediate attention and quick accomplishments and when new or untrained employees or those who refuse to take responsibility work in a team.
The participative model, usually referred to as democratic leadership, occupies an intermediate link between the task-oriented and people-oriented leadership styles. This type relies on sharing decision-making opportunities with a team by considering the interests of the related followers or stakeholders and promoting social equality (Al Khajeh, 2018). In this context, the leader tries to deliver direction and guidance and make the final decision but also focuses on constructive feedback from employees and active cooperation with them. Democratic leadership promotes loyalty, conducive corporate culture, and employees’ creativity but may be ineffective in urgent situations when a fast reaction is required.
Difference between a Leader and a Manager
In many organizations, the concepts of leadership and management are often confused and used interchangeably. However, although these concepts are interrelated, there is a clear distinction between their functions and characteristics. In this context, the primary roles of a manager are planning, namely, setting goals, organizing, that is, delegating tasks and coordinating the workflow, controlling, and supervising. On the other hand, the leader’s central roles are motivating employees, team-building, creating a favorable work environment, and being an intermediary between the top management and workgroup. Additionally, a leader should offer ideas and solutions, be capable of realizing them, consult and guide the staff about work-related issues, and represent an organization, facility, or a particular group.
In the clinical setting, a nurse has to deal with numerous issues associated with administrative tasks, providing adequate patient care, and relationships with staff colleagues and management. In this context, a nurse should develop various leadership skills, including problem-solving, awareness, commitment to goals, and interpersonal skills, to be able to take responsibility and respond to critical situations appropriately. In my regular nursing practice, I apply different leadership models depending on the conditions and challenges I face. Nevertheless, I am primarily inclined to use the democratic leadership style since I believe that to create a productive corporate environment, a leader needs to involve all staff members in the decision-making process. According to Puni et al. (2016), who conducted a survey of 170 respondents, employees under democratic leadership style are less prone to display counterproductive work behaviors and turnover intentions because of the shared decision-making approach.
Furthermore, to command the respect of their colleagues and motivate them, leaders should be highly educated and qualified, experienced, broad-minded, and proactive. For example, in their study, Rahbi et al. (2017) recommend implementing the participative leadership model because it promotes employees’ motivation, commitment, and performance. Another leadership model, such as laissez-faire, should seldom be utilized in nursing practice because, in most cases, it does not meet its demanding requirements. Finally, I believe that, when there is a need to respond to a critical situation immediately, a nurse leader can use the autocratic model since, as Al Khajeh (2018) states, it can boost employees performance. However, it is worth considering that this leadership type prevents creativity and initiative among staff members and promotes counterproductive work behaviors.
In summary, the paper has explored three leadership models, namely, autocratic, laissez-faire, and participative styles, and determined the difference between a leader and a manager. In particular, the most productive leadership type is democratic since it combines task-oriented and people-oriented leadership styles, implying making decisions based on collective efforts. This model also promotes creativity, proactivity, commitment, and retention among staff and organizational performance overall. The autocratic model should be used only in a short-term perspective or extreme situations.
Al Khajeh, E. H. (2018). Impact of leadership styles on organizational performance. Journal of Human Resources Management Research, 2018, 1-10. Web.
Puni, A., Agyemang, C. B., & Asamoah, E. S. (2016). Leadership styles, employee turnover intentions, and counterproductive work behaviors. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 5(1), 1-7.
Rahbi, D. A., Khalid, K., & Khan, M. (2017). The effects of leadership styles on team motivation. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 16(2), 1-14.