Leadership can be defined as the ability to lead or an act of leading. This activity can be in different forms such as ability to lead a company, a family or a group of people and also the ability to lead a nation. It’s also a process where a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. It’s a dynamic, relational process involving interactions among leaders, members and sometimes the others. Leadership has been defined by various authors and some definitions are: “leadership is influence-nothing more, nothing less.”(John C. Maxwell), “leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.” leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.”(Warren Bennis).Leadership style is defined as “how you behave when you are trying to influence the performance of someone else” (Blanchard 1995, p. 46). Therefore, one of the most important ingredients of any leader would be flexibility.
Styles of leadership
The five basic leadership styles described are:
Directing Leadership style,
Coaching Leadership style
Supporting Leadership style
Delegating Leadership style
Situational Leadership style
Analyzing the types of Leadership styles
Coaching leadership style
The coaching style is important when the present workers are getting tired and lukewarm in attitude. They may have been wrongly supervised in the past or may not have acquired enough skills. This leadership style is also effective for those employees who will need to be eulogized for them to develop self esteem. The style combines direction with support. As the important factor in building esteem is support, praise is also essential to build confidences .Therefore with successful building of the employee’s confidence and self esteem the result is an improved productivity and devotion and job completion is hastened and deadline are met on time(Blanchard 1995, pp 60).
Delegating involves leaders shifting responsibilities to employees who appear to have a masterful knowledge and capacity to perform maximally under minimal tutelage and direction(Blanchard 1995,pp63). This style appears to be the ideal style. However it is only effective in a situation where all workers are performing excellently and are committed to the leader and organization and each has a sense of responsibility. The leader here just gives out the directions and orders and he avoids making all the decision .The need to ensure the quality of the work done is accurate makes delegation style of leadership not workable most times as the final onus of responsibility lies on the leader to make sure that the work is carried out in a timely manner and completed before he deadline.
Situational Leadership Style: my philosophy of nursing leadership
This leadership style predicates my philosophy of nursing leadership as this combines all the four styles earlier mentioned and uses the most relevant as the situation warrants. The nursing leader is preoccupied and charged with the responsibility of making accurate diagnosis of the prevailing situation and the most effective leadership style that will be needed. This to me is the best leadership style because different employees have different gifts and talents and they do not have equal abilities. Based on this, a leadership style that is flexible enough as to adapt to a particular situation will be the one that can offer the best outcome and efficiency in the nursing profession. Who is a situational leader? Hence from all our definitions above, a situational leader is someone who leads as the prevailing condition warrants. He or she must possess and combine the attributes of a wholesome leader in order to be able to motivate and influence his or her followers. He must be able to communicate his vision or that of his employer. Situational leaders are emotionally mature, they show assertiveness, Self confidence, hard work, self awareness, relationship, decisiveness, charisma and competence. As a nursing leader, emergencies will arise in which case a prompt response to the patient’s condition will be lifesaving and in such a situation the charisma of a situational leader comes into play as other members of the nursing team imitate and are influenced. Charisma as a strong attribute of a situational leader voices overarching goals, communicates high performance expectations to followers, and exhibits confidences in follower ability to meet those high expectations (cited in Howell & Frost, 1989: 251).It also combine other attributes like hard work and not just delegating others to work while head of the nursing team folds his or her arms.
Therefore, situational leadership style is a collective style of leadership that is not rigid. It combines all the listed qualities in appropriate proportion in a speedy and timely without leaving out any and thereby bringing out the best output in terms of patient management and prognosis of diseases.
Comparing and contrasting management and leadership
Management first and foremost involves the manager telling the employees what and what they should do whereas a leader inform others what they should do and he goes further to assist them in the execution of the project or any other task in question as the case may be. Nursing management involves getting other nurses to get the available work done without personal contribution or assistance whereas nursing leadership by example will go all the way not just to delegate assignment to others but also initiate it and if possible carry it out along with other members so that everyone is involved in the process. Further while leadership is an admirable quality which can influence others, management connotes in most cases a particular assignment, job or task to be done (Maccoby 1981, pg 125). In leadership, leaders in most cases take up the leading role and others are following while in management, employees are told what to do while the manager sits back and watches the event unfold. It s much more challenging to be a leader than to be a manager and therefore there are many managers but only a few leaders. Finally both managers and leaders are at the peak of their groups or organizations, however a manager does not lead but only involves in the management of what has already been led(Kelly 1998,pg 23).
Blanchard, K., Patricia Z., & Drea Z (1995). Leadership and the One Minute Manager. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Kelly, K. (1998). You can’t make Leaders. Business Week 07 Dec. 1998: Enterprise My Company. Business Week Online Archives.
Maccoby, M. (1981). The Leader. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. Word Count: 1128
Yates, J. (1999). Leadership in emergency services. Emergency Services Seminar.
Retrieved on May 23, 2008. From www.ema.gov.au