Home/Essays Examples/Health/Leadership Style in Nursing

Leadership Style in Nursing


Leadership styles vary from one leader to another and from one organization to another, depending on the espoused values, principles, and norms. Marquis and Huston (2012) identify democratic, authoritative, and Laissez-fair styles of leadership as common in nursing. Democratic leadership is a style of leadership in which a leader applies teamwork, collaboration, and communication as central elements in the decision-making process and leadership.

In contrast, authoritative leadership lacks teamwork, collaboration, and communication because authoritarian leaders make all the decisions and apply rules in micromanaging employees and punishing them. Laissez-fair leadership is a style of leadership in which leaders provide too much freedom to employees by not supervising or directing them to perform various tasks. Therefore, this essay describes a leadership style of a nurse leader, criticizes its application, and examines its impact on healthcare quality and patient outcomes.

Description of Leadership Style

In the healthcare center, the nurse leader employs a democratic style of leadership. The nurse leader encourages collaboration and teamwork in the healthcare center because she always encourages effective interaction among nurses in improving the quality of care and patient outcomes. Marquis and Huston (2012) argue that democratic leadership promotes participative leadership, which is central in building teamwork and collaboration among employees.

The collective decision-making process is also an important attribute of the nurse leader because she consults nurses before making any decision. Democratic leaders use the consensus-building approach in the decision-making process, which allows employees to provide their knowledge and skills (Wall Street Journal Staff, 2014). When employees provide their knowledge and skills, they become responsible and accountable in their roles. In democratic leadership, effective relationships are essential because they enhance teamwork, collaboration, consensus building, responsibility, and accountability.

Criticism of the Leadership Style

The nurse leader is a team player, motivator, and independent leader, which implies that she demonstrates the characteristics of a democratic leader. Other nurse leaders should integrate these characteristics into their leadership styles because the characteristic of team player enables them to build teamwork and encourage participative leadership, while the characteristic of motivator encourages employees to perform their tasks optimally.

Azaare and Gross (2011) argue that nurses prefer leaders, who are articulate, proactive, and independent in their roles. In this view, proactive and independence are two important characteristics that nurse leaders should integrate into their leadership styles. Moreover, nurse leaders should integrate the approaches of responsibility and accountability in their leadership roles because they enhance the quality of healthcare and improve patient outcomes.

However, unfavorable characteristics and approaches that nurse leaders should not integrate are over-reliance on consensus building in the decision-making process and provision of too much freedom to nurses.

Impact on Healthcare Quality and Patient Outcomes

The democratic style of leadership that the nurse leader demonstrates has a positive impact on healthcare quality and patient outcomes. Christmas (2009) argues that effective leadership in nursing promotes the quality of health care services because nurses have a collective responsibility. The democratic style of leadership encourages teamwork and collaboration among nurses, and thus, improves the quality of healthcare and enhances patient outcomes.

Additionally, democratic leadership improves the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes by motivating nurses to work optimally. Kouzes and Posner (2009) state that leaders engage employees in creating a shared vision, achieving common goals, and creating a favorable working environment that promotes retention of the workforce. In this view, a democratic style of leadership improves the quality of care and patient outcomes in a healthcare center.


Nurse leaders apply different leadership styles such as democratic, Laissez-fair, and authoritative styles in the management of nurses in a healthcare center. Leadership style influences the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes in a healthcare center. In this view, the democratic style of leadership seems to be the most appropriate type of leadership because it enhances the quality of healthcare and improves patient outcomes. Essentially, democratic leadership motivates nurses, promotes collaboration, and enhances the independence of nurses.


Azaare, J., & Gross, J. (2011). The nature of leadership style in nursing management. British Journal of Nursing, 20(11), 672–676, 678–680. Web.

Christmas, K. (2009). 2009: The year of positive leadership. Nursing Economics, 27(2), 128-133. Web.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2009). To lead, create a shared vision. Harvard Business Review, 87(1), 20-21. Web.

Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2012). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Wall Street Journal Staff. (2014). Leadership. Web.