May 9, 2016
How leadership styles impact nurse performance and patient outcomes.
This guest post was created by Bradley University's Online Nursing Program. At eMedCert, we strongly encourage all forms of guest posting. If you are interested in publishing your work on the eMedCert blog, please contact our editorial team at [email protected].
As in any industry, healthcare employees perform better when they’re happy, satisfied, and motivated at work. However, the stakes get higher when performance impacts patient outcomes.
While there are many factors that can impact patient outcomes, it’s not just a coincidence that the satisfaction and well-being of healthcare workers often translates into the quality of care that patients receive. Since nurses perform better when they’re motivated and happy, it follows that leadership plays a big part in successful (and not-so-successful) patient outcomes.
And these outcomes aren’t limited to ‘satisfaction’; across studies, researchers have found that different leadership styles can influence everything from rates of medication errors to patient mortality. While there are certain leadership styles that yield more positive patient outcomes, this isn’t to say that there’s only one correct way to lead a team.
When leaders focus on supervising and providing rewards and punishment based on nurses’ performance — a style called transactional leadership — research found that nurses performed better during emergencies. Likewise, authoritarian leaders can be highly effective in the short-term during critical situations, though they tend to foster mistrust and dissatisfaction over time.
Democratic leaders are unparalleled in encouraging the open communication needed to improve processes. Meanwhile, transformational leaders have found greater success than others in providing job satisfaction and intrinsic motivation at work. While each organization is unique in their leadership needs, research demonstrates that certain approaches can be more effective than others in ensuring that patients receive the care they need.
In the infographic below, produced for Bradley University’s Online Nursing Program, you can find five key leadership styles illustrated with examples and research demonstrating how each can impact the quality of a healthcare organization’s performance.