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Leadership Styles and Theories in Nursing


The aim of the paper is the review the article “Leadership Styles and Theories” by Giltinane (2013). Firstly, the scholar’s main observations regarding leadership qualities and their possible effects on employee performance in clinical settings will be summarized. In addition, considering the evidence provided by Giltinane (2013), it will be discussed which potential implications for individual practice and professional development different leadership styles may have.

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Giltinane Article Summary

A primary goal of a leader is to motivate subordinates to complete certain tasks efficiently and effectively. However, there is no unified way to achieve this, as leaders often have distinct traits. Based on the categories of leadership qualities and orientations, Giltinane (2013) distinguishes three main leadership styles: transactional, transformational, and situational leadership. Transactional leadership is task-oriented, and Giltinane (2013) considers that autocratic leaders, “controlling, power-orientated and closed-minded,” fit in the framework of such an approach best (p. 36).

The main disadvantage of this style is the focus exclusively on managerial objectives and obedience to norms, without an attempt to promote shared values among employees. Conversely, a transformational leader aims to motivate subordinates by inspiring them and addressing their higher-order needs: self-esteem and self-realization. This style is people-oriented and, thus, is focused on the creation of a favorable work environment and culture needed for the promotion of an employee and patient well-being.

Still, despite apparent advantages of transformational leadership, such as improvement of job satisfaction, Giltinane (2013) recommends nurses to adhere to situational leadership. This style requires practitioners to evaluate situations critically and consequently implement either the transactional or transformational approach.

Impact of Giltinane Article Content on Future Practice

The results of the article review make it clear that different leadership styles are suitable for distinct situations. Depending on the context of their implementation, a leader may attain either positive or negative effects. For instance, by using the transactional approach, managers can improve performance in case of an emergency, but, in general, this method often leads to excess stress, whereas transformational leadership techniques aim to reduce it.

For this reason, as a nurse leader, I will strive to enhance my critical thinking skills to detect organizational, employee, and patient needs, prioritize them and choose appropriate methods to address them. Although the transformational style is most popular nowadays, while transactional leadership is perceived negatively due to a close association with autocratic principles, I would not prefer one over another.

When creating work infrastructures, cultural environment, and regulations, both of them can be of great help. Transactional leadership values may be utilized to develop and enforce various behavioral protocols and standards. At the same time, the elements of transformational leadership can be used to design employee motivation and welfare promotion programs. Both are essential for the improvement of organizational behavior and performance.

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The paper provided a recap of the main points regarding leadership frameworks made by Giltinane (2013) in their article. The two traditional approaches to management, transactional and transformational leadership, both have advantages and disadvantages, and their ability to lead the organization to success largely depends on context. Situational leadership may be regarded as a hybrid model, which combines the aspects of task-oriented and people-oriented approaches. However, its main distinctive feature is the necessity to evaluate various problems and environmental factors prior to the implementation of any managerial solution. For this reason, a successful leader will have well-developed critical thinking skills.


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

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