The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has propelled nurses to the forefront of medical care, thrusting leadership roles on their overwhelmed shoulders. Nurse practitioners and nursing leaders have emerged as frontline fighters, risking their lives to save patients from the deadly virus. But is the pandemic the only catalyst compelling nurses to take up leadership roles? Not entirely.
Healthcare sectors worldwide are combatting acute staffing shortages of qualified and skilled healthcare practitioners. The rising population of aging and retiring physicians has forced nurses to take up primary care roles with higher education and clinical expertise. Patient-centric models have made healthcare facilities more reliant on nursing leaders who understand patient care needs and preferences.
Nurse leaders are paving the way for improved care practices, regulated safety standards, team cohesion, and cultural diversity in nursing. But nursing leaders must carefully choose their leadership styles to inspire motivation and productivity.
Keep reading to explore leadership styles that align with nursing roles and leadership positions.
Top 4 Leadership Styles Suited For Nurse Leaders:
1. Collaborative Leadership
Nurse leaders serving as administrators, team leaders, managers, supervisors, or department directors have much to gain with a collaborative leadership approach. This transformational leadership style relies on relation-building and strong interpersonal skills to encourage collaborations with colleagues.
Professionals who embrace this leadership style seek to facilitate change by sharing their vision with peers and using encouragement to motivate team members.
For instance, collaborative nursing leaders encourage personal growth and professional development by helping colleagues cultivate a work-life balance. There’s a growing need for well-qualified and skilled nurses, and collaborative leaders facilitate higher education pursuits. Registered nurses are increasingly pursuing eLearning programs to expand their skills and explore lucrative career advancement opportunities.
RNs can combine an online RN to BSN program with their full-time nursing schedules to enjoy flexibility and accessibility. Nurse practitioners can learn and grow at their own pace, designing flexible academic schedules to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Collaborative nurse leaders are instrumental in creating a healthy and facilitative work environment that encourages professional development.
Adding a BSN degree to your resume can help you enjoy clinical authority and work closely with patients. More importantly, a BSN degree streamlines academic growth by allowing nurses to pursue MSN specializations and cement their clinical expertise. Seasoned nurse leaders recognize the significance of encouraging team members to invest in their education and training.
These extroverted and charismatic nurse leaders pave the road for career advancement for their colleagues and peers. Collaborative leaders are powerful harbingers of innovative transformations and positive changes to make impactful enhancements to healthcare organizations. They are tolerant of mistakes and encourage trial-and-error learning for their peers and interns.
2. Democratic Leadership
As the name implies, democratic leadership revolves around peer support and unanimous decision-making. Nurse leaders who embrace democratic leadership styles thrive on the support systems of their colleagues and enjoy collaborative experiences. Many experts refer to this approach as participative leadership as it encourages every team member to participate.
Democratic leaders, as taught in executive training, allow each team member to exercise their voting rights while making crucial administrative decisions. Nurse leaders with a participative approach consult their colleagues on shift schedules instead of forcing them to do mandatory overtime. They make time to check in on every team member to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed with occupational stress and fatigue.
Mutual respect and the desire to empower others run deep in nurses who embrace democratic and participative leadership approaches. They extend respect, compassion, and empathy towards colleagues and subordinates, encouraging them to excel. Democratic nurse leaders are mindful of the well-being of their team members and facilitative of their professional growth.
This leadership style is ideal for healthcare environments overwhelmed with technical or staffing changes. Democratic nurse leaders help healthcare facilities recruit new staff members, embrace disruptive technologies, and introduce new healthcare practices without overwhelming their teams.
3. Facilitative Leadership
Facilitative leadership is suitable for healthcare environments where nurse leaders aren’t required to make tough decisions. This leadership style is popularly known as laissez-faire, and it doesn’t align with all healthcare environments. This approach revolves around facilitating team members and colleagues to actualize their true potential without restrictions.
Leaders don’t approach decision-making with autocratic control over all variables and schedules. Instead, they encourage group discussions and problem-solving sessions to find solutions with a free-handed approach. Group members are encouraged to share their views and make their own decisions to ensure productivity and motivation. Facilitative leadership thrives in settings where each team member holds extensive experience and clinical prowess in their fields.
Laissez-faire loosely translates into “let them do,” which sums up the premise of this leadership style. Nurse leaders rarely step in, and that too in situations that spiral out of control and need efficient handling. This approach works best when nurses are skilled and do not require supervision from nursing leaders.
4. Monocratic Leadership
Monocratic leadership styles involve unilateral decision-making, delegation, and strict rules and regulations governing healthcare systems. Nursing leaders entrusted with supervising departments, critical patients, or nurse interns must embrace autocratic leadership approaches. In such positions where supervision is necessary, nurses have little choice but to adopt an authoritarian approach to handling errors.
In intensive care, ER, and cardiac units, sensitive healthcare processes need authoritarian leaders to enforce strict quality controls. The slightest errors in care quality or medication calculation can lead to life-threatening emergencies and glaring liabilities of medical malpractice. Authoritarian nurse leaders help young professionals underscore the significance of efficiency and accuracy while administering treatments and medications.
These nursing leaders train interns and young nurses with strict adherence to clinical regulations and safety standards. They design standardized processes to implement quality controls and exhibit no tolerance for errors and mistakes. Healthcare facilities rely on senior nurses with authoritarian approaches to take charge during disasters and healthcare emergencies.
This leadership style allows nurses to take charge of chaotic and stressful situations, ensuring rapid and efficient decision-making. Autocratic approaches are suited to administrative nurse leaders, directors, nursing educators, and seasoned DNP professionals.
So, which leadership style have you decided to choose to excel in your healthcare organization? It mainly depends on your personality traits, communication skills, and interpersonal capabilities. Most extroverted nurse leaders who thrive with social support prefer collaborative and democratic leadership approaches. They don’t want to alienate team members with strict rules and regulations thwarting creativity and innovation.
In contrast, seasoned nurse leaders with decades of experience don’t appreciate interference from inexperienced nurses and lead healthcare facilities with authoritarian practices. Your qualifications, experience, and skills are crucial determinants of the leadership style that suits your nursing role and position.