As a nurse, you’ve probably worked for many nurse leaders over the years – and each one of those nurses likely had very different styles of leadership. If you are taking a step into leadership in your career, it’s important to find a leadership style that will motivate staff and positively impact patient care.
Here are some of the most common nursing leadership styles to help you determine which one(s) fit your personality and work environment.
Authoritarian leadership, also known as autocratic leadership, is a style typically adopted by highly-disciplined nurses who know exactly what they want and don’t often bend. They usually do not ask for input from staff and tend to micromanage. While this style is not always ideal for motivation, it can be very useful in high-stress environments like trauma centers where there is little time to think, only time to take action.
While authoritarian leaders rarely relinquish control, laissez-faire leaders are hands-off. They delegate work and provide minimal supervision. They don’t want their staff to come to them with constant questions; they want people to be autonomous. To make this type of leadership work, it’s important to cultivate a team that trusts one another and pulls together to get the job done.
Democratic leaders tend to fall in the middle. They ask for input and listen to opinions, but they also do not relinquish all of their decision-making authority. They like to work collaboratively, but they also know when to take control of a situation.
Servant leadership focuses on motivation through relationship-building and skill development. These leaders tend to put their staff ahead of themselves, focusing on employees’ needs and development. However, they also know how to persuade staff to their position and are adept at helping their team members arrive at a decision or action that they, as a leader, ultimately want to see.
This type of leadership focuses on change. Transformational leaders tend to be charismatic and confident, and others naturally want to follow them. They focus on boosting morale and cultivating a team spirit to enact the change they want to see.
What Type of Nurse Leader Are You?
The type of leadership style you adopt will depend on your personality and even the situations you find yourself in. In some departments or practices, you may have to take a more authoritarian approach, even if you are typically more of a democratic leader. Whatever style you adopt, it is important to demonstrate a strong character and model integrity, honesty, commitment, and passion – traits you want your staff to mirror.