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Situational Leadership Approach


A nurse’s position often requires the demonstration of effective leadership skills to be able to cope with a variety of tasks when working with patients and colleagues. The role of a charge nurse allows for developing and using different skills and abilities typical of leaders because job responsibilities include not only performing certain tasks but also supervising, delegating, and solving problems. In most cases, charge nurses are also expected to effectively perform in an emergency, and when the use of a leader’s abilities is necessary. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the personal leadership approach from the perspective of a charge nurse and with reference to specific experiences and examples from practice.

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Leadership Approach

Situational leadership is an approach that allows an individual to realize his or her leadership potential with reference to the needs according to a specific situation. The reason is that a variety of situations in the workplace usually requires the application of different approaches that can be viewed as the most efficient one in these situations (Northouse, 2019). The focus is usually on the combination of supportive and directive approaches to address a problematic or common situation depending on its nature and desired outcomes.

It is possible to agree that the situational leadership approach is the most appropriate variant for a charge nurse. Being in charge during a shift not only means guaranteeing that all tasks are completed in an efficient manner. This role also means being in charge of other nurses working in a shift, supervising them, delegating tasks, and resolving emergency issues (Northouse, 2019). For example, being a situational leader is related to using a directive approach when it is necessary to address an unexpectedly high flow of patients and organize an admission process. It is important to assess the situation and assign more nurses for participating in an admission process without affecting other processes negatively.

There were also examples of situations when it was necessary to apply a coaching approach. Thus, working with a nurse intern during her first shift, it was essential not only to direct her in working with patients but also to support her to decrease tension and stress. However, it is possible to state that in most cases, situational leadership requires a charge nurse to react in a directive manner to address emergency cases, delegate tasks, and complete the schedule. Using situational leadership, it was possible to organize the work of nurses in the most efficient way to overcome atypical situations.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The key strengths associated with the applied situational leadership approach are the ability to effectively assess different types of events and the ability to shift from a directive style to a supportive one when it is critical. The evaluation skill is important for a leader in order to identify emergencies, issues, and problems with patients and select the right people to delegate assignments. The ability to use both directive and supportive styles is important for a situational leader to achieve performance and communication goals.

However, it is also possible to determine weaknesses in demonstrated leadership. The main weakness to pay attention to in the personal leadership style includes underdeveloped skills in shifting quickly from one style to another. Situational leadership for a charge nurse requires an extremely high level of flexibility, and it is always the area for improvement (Northouse, 2019). The problem is that a situational leader needs to take into account a variety of factors when developing the most effective approach: the nature of a situation and demographic or professional characteristics of followers, among others.

Leadership Plan

It is required to address the determined weakness and develop flexibility typical of situational leaders. Thus, the goal is to develop the ability to quickly change a leadership style and approach depending on the need and situation from directing to supporting, coaching, and delegating when necessary. The following actions need to be done: a) to develop skills in evaluating a situation to determine the associated necessity; b) to enhance the ability to identify the need of a follower in a specific situation (whether guidance, support, or a direction are required); to develop qualities typical of directing, supporting, coaching, and delegating leadership styles. The following steps need to be taken to complete this leadership plan: a) to read literature on different leadership styles; b) to participate in seminars and workshops to train leadership qualities; c) to practice the analysis of situations and different leadership styles when working with colleagues.

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To summarize the analysis of the personal leadership style, it is important to state that a charge nurse usually applies a situational leadership approach. This approach is effective to be referred to when it is important to react appropriately to a variety of unexpected situations that occur in the workplace, using the most effective method of interacting with followers. Although certain strengths in applying this leadership style have been determined, there is also a weakness related to the developed level of flexibility in a charge nurse. The proposed leadership plan offers the goal, objectives, and steps to increase the level of flexibility in a situational leader.


Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice (8th ed.). SAGE.

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