Leadership Styles in Nursing for Improved Quality of Care

Leadership Styles in Nursing for Improved Quality of Care

A nurse manager should be a leader guiding every person who contributes to the well-being of patients in a nursing unit.

Managers have to regulate everything that can affect the quality of care and services provided to patients.

The poor performance of the person managing nurses, patients, and other healthcare professionals can lead to unfortunate results for patients.

It can also affect the productivity and morale of the entire staff which can lead to the poor performance of the entire unit.

Being a nurse and a leader, if you aren’t really sure what style to adopt both as a nurse and a leader to succeed, keep reading the article.

Here we have collected various types of leadership of nurses.

Choose the one that fits your personality best as well as your work environment, organization, etc.


The democratic leadership style in nursing encourages the participation of junior staff in the decision-making process.

The final decision, however, is up to the leader, as they collect information, ideas, and feedback from the staff before finalizing the results.

The democratic style of leadership is quite effective because all employees feel valued and try to do their best.

The contribution of the employees is essential for the growth of the organization.

This style is some of the best for the clinical setting since the abilities and skills of all professionals matter for the success of the facility.

There are some disadvantages to this leadership style too.

Getting everyone’s feedback can be time-consuming.

Also, some employees may be more confident in giving their feedback while others can be hesitant or never get an opportunity to give their feedback.

nursing leadership styles


An affiliative leadership style isn’t easy for everybody.

To make is effective and successful, the leader should be great at building relations.

This leadership style is the best for situations when the bitterness of feeling among a group should be fixed or when there’s a lot of stress and pressure.

These leaders can motivate other team members the best.

The affiliative leadership style is highly useful when there’s a need for argument morale, team harmony, and rebuilding of trust.

This style enhances the communication and interaction between the team members.

Along with all the pros, this style also has some cons to it.

First, this leadership style can’t be the only one in use.

Second, if done wrong, it can lead to bad performance.


The transformational leadership style is also about motivation and encouragement of employees to do their best and stay positive while performing their duties.

All this should be done through a common vision and mission.

With the transformational leadership style, the teams become engaged and productive.

To make this style work for the facility efficiently, the nurse leader should be inspiring and smart.

This style can fail if the leader lacks the essential qualities and traits to make the transformational leadership beneficial for the facility.

Nursing leadership


Authoritarian or Autocratic leadership style in nursing is when a leader or manager makes all the decisions, gives directives and orders to everybody on the staff.

Employees should follow the orders they’ve been given.

Managers supervise the staff and their input isn’t considered in the decision-making process.

Even if the employees have doubts about the validity of the orders, they aren’t allowed to ask.

This type of leadership style works best in prisons, jails, military organizations because the lives of patients fully depend on workers there.

Therefore, employees must work step-by-step as directed.

If someone doesn’t enforce the rules properly, they can even be given a punishment.

There is zero tolerance for mistakes, and often people instead of faulty procedures are blamed.

The only benefit of this style is that it is highly effective in emergency situations where there’s no time for discussion.

This type of leadership is completely inappropriate for routine work as it fails the motivation, communication, teamwork, and trust.


In the coaching leadership style, leaders focus on people’s development.

They help team members understand their weaknesses and strengths, set goals for development, and achieve them.

This style is perfect to help employees grow both professionally and personally.

With proper use of this leadership style, the results can be long-term.

There are some cons to it as well, as it only works if employees are receptive, and it requires time, especially at the beginning.


The transactional leadership style implies that leaders award or penalize the employees depending on how they complete tasks.

The main focus of this style is supervision, organization, leadership, and performance of the group.

It is fully dependent on the transactions between the managers and employees, as it’s based on the idea that the staff is motivated both by rewards and discipline.

Nurse managers adopting this leadership style focus on the best performance in the present rather than in the future.

Besides, they pay much attention to the mistakes made by staff members.

These leaders are required when the duties should be performed in a particular way.

nursing management


The situational leadership style is very flexible and can be adapted to the existing needs and requirements in the clinical setting.

This type of leadership doesn’t require the managers to have certain skills and abilities but rather be able to modify them according to the present requirements.

This leadership style is easy to implement, as the leader only has to assess the situation and come up with the best strategy for the most positive outcome for the facility.

Therefore, this leadership style works best only with the right leader.

Nursing managers can make decisions and modify the management style as necessary.

Situational leaders don’t really focus on the long-term goals of the organizations.

It’s one of the major disadvantages of this style.


The Laissez-faire leadership style in nursing implies that employees are encouraged to take a hands-on approach and can work in a way they prefer.

There is no supervision or guidance from the managers.

The leaders are providing only minimal directions and allow the staff to handle various tasks themselves.

Employees are responsible for their decisions, set their goals, and solve any coming up issues.

This type of management is successful only with highly skilled, motivated, and educated employees who are ready to do their best for the best outcome.

This method won’t work with the employees who don’t know how to manage time or aren’t experienced or skilled enough.

Without proper skills, this can lead to negative results.

These managers are usually new leaders or those who are ending their careers.

leadership in nursing


The visionary leadership style is similar to a transformational one.

The difference is that leaders focus more on the future and have the employees concentrating on the upcoming years.

Managers only motivate employees to share and pursue common goals and vision by guiding them on what to do, where to go, and how to get there.

A smart leader in the visionary management style freely interchanges information to provide knowledge to the employees to succeed.

This style works the best at any clinic that is new and needs direction.


Nurse managers often use this leadership style to bring success to the organization.

They look after those who serve patients and put their efforts into positive results, i.e., team members.

They pay significant attention to the needs of their employees and ask them if they require assistance.

All this is done for the professional growth of the employees.

They promote engagement and a healthy work environment.

A good servant leader should be an active listener, be able to persuade others, and build community.

They should be empathetic and skilled at conceptualizing.

This leadership style is caring and is adopted for building trust among the team members.

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