5 nurse leadership styles to know

All nurses are leaders, regardless of their title, and must identify the leadership style that works best for them, Kimberly Gibbons, DNP, RN, a nurse midwife and clinical instructor at Manchester-based Southern New Hampshire University, wrote in a Sept. 8 blog post.  

Dr. Gibbons outlined the following five leadership styles:

1. Transformational leadership. Leaders urge a shared vision among the team, using encouragement and inspiration to promote change. These leaders are often extroverted, future-oriented and open to new experiences. Transformational leaders are most effective in leading health systems through larger changes or improvements. 

2. Democratic leadership. Leaders rely on the group's participation to guide decision-making and management. These leaders are highly collaborative, empowering and mutually respectful. Democratic leaders can be useful when seeking to build new relationships between leadership and a group of nurses. 

3. Laissez-faire leadership. Leaders take a hands-off approach in which they encourage the group to make their own decisions and develop solutions for work-related issues. These leaders are trusting and tolerant of both innovations and error. 

4. Autocratic leadership. Leaders implement rules and orders in a very authoritative and structured manner. This leadership style can be effective during emergency or trauma situations. 

5. Servant leadership. Leaders give their team members the skills, tools and relationships needed to perform their best. These leaders share their power, actively listen to colleagues and prioritize others over themselves. 

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