Leadership is a concept that is essential to an organization with goals. In healthcare, the ultimate goal is to provide quality care to patients. Achieving this goal can be very complex and include balancing needs of the patients, the health care staff, the objectives of the organization, state and federal regulations as well as many of other aspects. Effective leadership involves individuals with specific qualities and characteristics. Personal Views
A leader is someone who may or may not hold a formal role at a facility but nonetheless is a leader. This includes formal roles such as nurse manager or unit supervisor and informal roles such as a staff nurse. According to Sullivan (2013), “A leader is anyone who uses interpersonal skills to influence others to accomplish a specific goal” (p. 41). Staff nurses often are the unspoken team leaders of a group of nursing technicians and assistants, licensed practical nurses, and other ancillary staff. This is an important role to creating a good working environment and group cohesion at the base level. An ideal leader can positively motivate and guide a group or an individual towards a goal using a variety of interpersonal skills. Leadership must also be fluid, adapting to different situations and different personalities and not stick to a “one fits all” style. Leadership versus Management
Leader and manager are often terms that are used to mean the same thing. A manager is by default in a leadership position whereas a leader may not be in a managerial position. “Managers are responsible for efficiently accomplishing the goals of the organization” (Sullivan, 2013, p. 41). A manager is in a formal and often authoritative role and has “responsibility, authority, accountability, and power defined by the organization” (Sullivan, 2013, p. 41). A manager may not be a good leader and lack interpersonal skills however it is possible to learn these skills and evolve as a leader. Leadership Characteristics
There are characteristics that are common in good leaders. Knowledge, patience, compassion, problem solving, and multi-tasking skills are very important. Leaders must also be effective listeners and flexible to different personalities and changing work environments. A great leader has the ability to bring out the best in everyone and is trustworthy and trusting. Effective leadership will create an environment in which all members of an organization have the opportunity to realize their own potential and achieve the goals set upon by the organization. Casida and Parker (2011) discuss the use of transformation leadership style in nurse managers. “Transformational leadship is a style that inspires and motivate followers.
Transformational leadership emphasizes the importance of interpersonal relationships and is not concerned with the status quo, but with effecting revolutionary change in organizations and human service” (Sullivan, 2013, p. 43). Casida and Parker (2011) continute that the nurse manager who displays a transformational style frequently will likely achieve his/her leadership goal effectively in a satisfying way. “The key to the viability of the hospital is the positive patient care outcomes through staff nurse’s autonomy, retention and satisfaction, emanating from the grassroots of patient care – the nursing units. This upward organizational influence can be achieved by nurse managers who espouse and practice transformational leadership” (Casida & Parker, 2011, p. 485).
Casida, J., & Parker, J. (2011). Staff nurse perceptions of nurse manager leadership styles and outcomes. Journal of Nursing Management (19), 478–486. Sullivan, E. J. (2013). Effective leadership and management in nursing (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Prentice Hall.