A leader I am acquainted with is a nurse leader in a medical surgical unit. Her leadership style is both democratic and autocratic. For example, she directs other nurses using guidance and suggestions instead of orders. She includes others in decision-making and is attentive to our opinions; she evaluates each of them and points out which of the options is more suitable for the current situation.
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However, this nurse leader can also utilize traits common for the authoritarian style of leadership. Marquis and Huston (2017) point out that strong control over the work group, coercion as a motivation tool, and communication that flows downward are standard for this type of leadership. During emergencies or situations that require our full attention, this nurse leader maintains firm and strict control over our group and usually does not allow us to counter her decisions.
However, this is done to ensure that no time is wasted on unnecessary discussions. Her ability to balance between the democratic and democratic styles of leadership is inspiring because neither of those leadership styles is entirely suitable for emergencies and events that frequently occur in medical surgical units. Without control, performance rates can drop and affect patient outcomes. At the same time, if nurses would not take part in decision making, they would be less motivated to ensure their performance is quality.
My leadership style is democratic. Therefore, many our approaches toward followers and the workflow are similar: we put emphasis on the team rather than on ourselves, we use constructive criticism, and appreciate the input from others.
However, I would be happy to maintain more control over my followers. Benoliela and Somecha (2014) point out that high-agreeableness is a good trait for a leader because such leaders can be altruistic, cooperative, trusting, and forgiving. I am an agreeable person, but a constant pursuit of cooperation and forgiveness often results in less control that I would like to have. It would be good to maintain as much control as the mentioned nurse leader has over followers because it is crucial in complex decision making and with patients who are in a critical condition.
A characteristic I would not like to integrate into my leadership style is the decision to prohibit any suggestions during an emergency situation. Although this nurse leader usually involves us in decision-making, she does not allow us to dispute her orders during a more serious event, e.g., when we are handling a critically ill patient. The problem with such approach is that the nurse leader can miss out a valuable suggestion that could potentially help the patient (Graham & Melnyk, 2014). Therefore, undisputable control is not always practical, even during emergencies.
Still, I would describe this nursing leader as a democratic one. Democratic leadership can improve the perception of healthcare facilities by patients, as it emphasizes patient-centered care. Those patients that support the involvement of their families in decision-making will support the democratic style of leadership.
Ahmad, Adi, Noor, Rahman, and Yushuang (2013) point out that the democratic style of leadership can positively influence job satisfaction among nurses. With the increase in job satisfaction, motivation and commitment will also rise. Such changes can lead to a decreased number of medical errors, reduced workplace stress and burnout, thus improving the quality of healthcare. With the reduced number of medical errors, patient outcomes will also improve (e.g., common issues such as hospital-acquired infections might become less frequent).
Ahmad, A. R., Adi, M. N. M., Noor, H. M., Rahman, A. G. A., & Yushuang, T. (2013). The influence of leadership style on job satisfaction among nurses. Asian Social Science, 9(9), 172-178.
Benoliela, P. & Somecha, A. (2014). The health and performance effects of participative leadership: Exploring the moderating role of the Big Five personality dimensions. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23(2), 277–294.
Graham, S., & Melnyk, B. M. (2014). The birth of a healthcare leadership academy: Lessons learned from the Ohio State University. Nurse Leader, 12(2), 55–74.
Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2017). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.