Various nursing and management styles impact differently on the goals and objectives of an organization, as well as on the intellectual stimulation and personal development of the workforce (Murphy, 2005). For example, a transformational leader empowers and motivates the workforce differently than an autocratic or transactional leader. The research paper endeavors to assess transformational leadership as discussed by Murphy (2005). In addition, the paper shall also attempt to illustrate how this particular nursing leadership style has found application at a nursing home for the elderly.
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In her article, “Transformational leadership: a cascading chain reaction”, Murphy (2005) examines the increased permeation of historical influences in contemporary nursing practices in the form of autocratic and transactional leadership styles, organizational philosophies, and disempowered staff. Murphy (2005) critically examines transformational leadership, arguing that we need charismatic transformational leaders who manifest individual consideration and intellectual stimulation to enhance patient care and empower the staff. According to Sordeal et al. (2001), a transformational leader cushions his/her staff against the effects of stress by reinforcing a positive work attitude. This is indicative of a cascading effect of transformational leadership.
Transformational leaders employ intellectual stimulation, charisma, and individual consideration to ensure that the needs of their followers have been elevated to a level congruent with their individual objectives and goals (Durham-Taylor, 2000). Lindholm et al. (2000) observes that transformational leaders energize and motivate staffs to share visions, pursue mutual goals, and embrace an empowering culture. Finegan and Spence-Laschinger (2001) contend that disempowerment comes about when people are denied the chance to grow and develop, such as when we fail to consult them while making crucial decisions. In addition, disempowerment may also be caused by denying employees access to the necessary resources to undertake their work effectively and they are still held accountable for their actions. This makes nurses to feel incompetent, frustrated, and less loyal to the organization. While this is likely to affect the effectiveness of the organization’s objectives, one of the outstanding effects of disempowerment is that it can lead to apathy and disinterest on the part of the employees. Eventually, this impacts negatively on patient care delivery (Clegg, 2001).
As a nursing intern at a nursing home for the elderly, I experienced first-hand the power of transformational leadership and how it cascades from the top nursing management to the other employees. The nursing manager possessed qualities similar to those mentioned by Murphy (2005). For example, she employed captivating and persuasive communication skills to transform the workforce to can share in the corporate goals of the organization. In addition, she also endeavored to establish the milieu of collaboration and creativity by stimulating influence beliefs of the employees, their positive emotions, behaviors, and attitudes.
Moreover, the nursing manager allowed the staff to participate in decision-making. As a result, employees felt that they were valued by the organization, and this improved their morale. She also listened to, valued and invited their varied opinions. Consequently, this helped to reduce non-cooperative relationships and personal conflicts, as noted by Stodeur et al. (2001). Due to the positive influence of the transformational leadership qualities of the nursing managers at the nursing home, the number of complaint by the patient reduced drastically. In addition, employees also reported increased satisfaction in their work.
Transformational leaders empower their workforce by giving them a chance to grow and develop in their respective areas of specialization. In addition, they also have the tendency to intellectually stimulate their workforce and as a result, they are able to explore and analyze their practice, resulting in improved performances. Because transformational nursing leaders invite and listen to the opinions of their workforce, this increases employees’ morale since they feel valued and appreciated. Consequently, we are likely to witness improved patient care.
Clegg, A. (2001). Occupational stress in nursing: a review of the literature. Journal of Nursing management, 9, 101-106
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Durham-Taylor, J. (2000). Nurse executive transformational leadership found in participative organizations. Journal of Nursing Administration, 30(5), 241- 250
Finegan, J. E., & Spence-Laschinger, H. K. (2001). The antecedents and consequences of empowering: a gender analysis. Journal of Nursing Administration, 31(10), 489-497.
Lindholm, M., Sivberg, B., & Uden, G. (2000). Leading styles among nursing managers in changing organizations. Journal of Nursing Management, 8, 327- 335.
Murphy, L. Transformational leadership: a cascading chain reaction. Journal of Nursing management, 13, 128-136.
Strordeur, S., d’Hoore, W., & Vandenberghe, C. (2001). Leadership, organizational stress, and emotional exhaustion among hospital nursing staff. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 35(4), 533-542.