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Leadership Styles and Theories in Healthcare


Leadership is a very important subject in nursing and healthcare. This process includes interacting and coordinating the efforts of various groups as well as serving as part of a coordinated effort. Knowing and understanding leadership theories is key for successful healthcare management. The article by Giltinane (2013) provides an overview of three leadership styles: transactional, transformational, and situational versions. The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of this article and evaluate its impact on contemporary nursing practice.

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Giltinane Article Summary

The article provides justification for empathizing with different leadership styles in healthcare in order to provide results and improve patient outcomes. The first style of leadership observed by Giltinane is transactional leadership. The researcher classifies it as an autocratic approach where all the power and decision-making is accumulated at the hands of a nurse that is the highest in the hierarchy (Giltinane 2013, p. 36). It allows for quick decision-making in difficult situations but does not provide longevity or facilitation of healthy relationships between healthcare workers.

Giltinane (2013) classifies transformational leadership as a method aimed at inspiring individuals to become leaders on their own right, take leadership of themselves, and take responsibility and agency for themselves and their patients. Transformational leadership style is often used in hierarchical organizations (such as hospitals) to facilitate team spirit and promoting democratic decision-making when it is possible.

Situational leadership, also known as mixed-method leadership, is a kind of approach that emphasizes using different frameworks and methodologies in order to adapt to ever-changing situations in healthcare practice (Giltinane, 2013). This approach is effective at solving problems but is inconsistent and can create issues in relationships between group members. It is typically used in complex situations and is aimed at the short-term perspective.

Impact of Giltinane Article Content on Future Practice

Giltinane (2013) points out that despite the three leadership styles having well-defined strengths and weaknesses, there is no evidence about the comparative effectiveness of either leadership style. Such a conclusion is explained by the fact that leadership situations are extremely heterogeneous. Much depends on the personality of the nurses, the subordinates, the patients, and the situation itself (Giltinane, 2013).

Reading this article made me understand that although knowledge about particular leadership styles is important, every individual nurse needs to craft a style best fits her own character, needs, and capabilities. Such a premise sounds similar to what a situational leadership style is. Therefore, in my professional practice, I will use a multitude of frameworks and adapt to the satiation the best I possibly could in order to ensure effectiveness and quality of care. Nevertheless, I will remain aware of the shortcomings of the situational leadership style and put a greater emphasis on building interpersonal relationships between myself and other nurses. Transformational leadership can be integrated into a situational framework in order to provide a long-term solution.


Leadership is an important part of modern-day nursing. There are numerous leadership styles that utilize different mechanisms of interpersonal interaction in order to achieve short-term and long-term results. The most popular leadership styles are transformational, transactional, and situational. There is no solid evidence about which style fits better for nursing. Based on my research and analysis of the article, situational leadership is more flexible and useful. They are maintaining healthy working relationships is the cornerstone of successful leadership.

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Giltinane, C. L. (2013). Leadership styles and theories. Nursing Standard, 27(41), 35-39.

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