Leadership Theories in Practice
There are many different theories and styles of leadership; however, every leader has their own unique style of leading (Marshall & Broome, 2017). With the continually changing nature of the healthcare industry, organizations must acquire and train good, strong leaders. Good leaders can make an enormous impact on an organization and will help to produce employees who give excellent patient care. The inverse is true, as well, in that bad leaders will produce those who provide poor patient care (Scully, 2015). This explains why it is imperative to choose positive leaders who will offer encouragement and produce an uplifting work environment (Scully, 2015). Another attribute of an excellent leader is one who is intellectually stimulating and encourages learning and growth (Collins et al., 2019). As medicine is continually evolving and new evidence-based practice is regularly published, nurses must continue their education and advance their skills. A good leader will encourage this. A great leader will also encourage the heart, which is especially important during difficult times (Marshall & Broome, 2017).
I have worked with many leaders over the years, some exceptional, and others who often fell short. Among those leaders, one specifically stands out who embodied many essential qualities that a leader must possess. He was a very positive leader and was always there to offer encouragement when needed and was always sure to voice his appreciation and recognition. One of his most remarkable qualities was his vast knowledge and ability to teach in such a way that inspired you to want to learn more and work even harder to improve your skills and patient care. He practiced what he preached and led by example. He was always willing to offer help where it was needed. He was the embodiment of a transformational leader. His leadership skills were very effective and made a significant impact on our unit. If he made a mistake or fell short in a situation, he would always own up to it and encouraged his employees to offer feedback. When he left the organization, he left a hole in our unit that has yet to be filled, which is a sign of a great leader.
For anyone who hopes to be in a leadership position in the future, immediate work must begin on leadership skills and styles. It is wise to look at the leaders around you and learn from their strengths and weaknesses. As a leader, it is important to recognize your weaknesses and work to improve those areas to be the best leader possible. There are many key attributes and characteristics that make a great leader. Many great leaders are positive and possess the ability to inspire and stimulate their employees to want to learn and grow (Collins et al., 2019), and should encourage the heart of their employees (Marshall & Broome, 2017).
Collins, E., Owen, P., Digan, J., & Dunn, F. (2019). Applying transformational leadership in nursing practice. Nursing Standard, 35(5), 59–66. https://doi.org/10.7748/ns.2019.e11408
Marshall, E., & Broome, M. E. (Eds.). (2017). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (2nd ed.). Springer Publishing Company.
Scully, N. (2015). Leadership in nursing: The importance of recognising inherent values and attributes to secure a positive future for the profession. Collegian, 22(4), 439–444. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2014.09.004