Participative Leadership in Nursing
The participative style of leadership is considered among the best in the nursing field, because leaders with this attribute are good listeners and they seek input from others when making decisions about patient care or other issues in a healthcare setting.
I was and I am a participative leader in nursing.
Everyone has had -- at one point in his or her professional careers -- a boss or supervisor who was dictatorial, or nearly so. This supervisor or boss was the kind of person who had all the answers, wouldn't listen to input from employees, and tended towards arrogance and pushiness rather than cooperation and helpful interaction. I have had bosses like that, and that kind of situation does not create trust but rather creates a feeling of being intimidated and treated like a person with little value.
However, I have also had supervisors that understood the importance of developing a good relationship with staff, and these supervisors created an environment that was friendly, positive and productive. This kind of leadership is referred to as participative,...
Participative leadership means building better relationships with staff because everyone is a participant -- albeit, when the final decision is to be made, the supervisor has to make the call.
Participative leadership fits perfectly into my philosophical approach to nursing, especially today as so many new medicines are on the market, new techniques are being presented, and the level of training for RNs -- and those nurses that have moved into more specialized aspects of nurses -- has risen substantially. I know that there are technologies used in healthcare situations that I am not immediately comfortable with. I don't have a history of intuitiveness when it comes to a new technology introduced into a ward, but I know there are nurses who are more intuitive than I, and by embracing that other nurse's knowledge (who may not be in a supervisory position), I am creating trust and empowering myself and the nurse who does understand technologies better than I do.
The attributes of leadership that may be needed for graduate level nurses.
Graduate level nurses may have more skills and more general knowledge, but leadership is far more than just skills and knowledge. It is about embracing the skills and knowledge of those nurses around you. Graduate level nurses need to recognize this.
Meanwhile, in the peer-reviewed Journal of Organizational Behavior the authors discuss two theoretical models of participative leadership. The "motivational model" takes the position that the more opportunities that staff members have to actually be part of the decision-making process, the more those staff members (in this case, nurses) will have for "greater intrinsic rewards" from their work (Huang, 2010). In fact, when a nurse leader shares decision-making with her subordinates, those subordinates become empowered and this can result in "improved work performance" (Huang, 122).
Huang, X, Iun, J., Liu, A., and Gong, Y. (2010). Does participative leadership enhance work performance by inducing empowerment or trust? The differential effects on managerial
and non-managerial subordinates. Journal of Organized Behavior, 31(1), 122-143.
Tomey, A.M. (2009). Nursing leadership and management effects work environments.
Journal of Nursing Management, 17(1) 15-25.
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