In my 20 plus years of nursing I encountered many managers with many different managerial styles. There are three main styles: 1. Authoritarian, 2. Democratic, and 3. Laissez-faire. Each of these styles has its own strengths and weaknesses. The manager I am choosing to highlight falls somewhere between democratic and laissez-faire.
The manager in question is very permissive with his control. We have one nurse who, although she works hard, is not up to par with the other staff. He continues to allow her to give sub-par care. Per other management, they have had discussions on how to improve her delivery of care to no avail. Ideally, she would have been reassigned in the company. When decisions must be made he allows the team to help with those. During staff meetings we discuss ways in which “we” can improve patient outcomes.
An advantage to having a laissez-faire management style is when those being led are self-motivated, this can lead to increase in productivity and creativity. When groups are extremely cooperative and coordinate well democratic leadership is most effective. Group apathy and disinterest can occur with laissez-faire leadership while democratic leadership can frustrate those who wish to have a quick decision (Marquis & Huston, 2017).
Leadership styles should adapt to the demands of the situation, requirements of the people, and challenges faced by the group (Wall Street Journal Staff, n.d.). When a decision needs to made quickly authoritarian works best. When trying to get an experienced group to “buy-in” to an idea, democratic leadership would be more effective. When the group is self-motivated and only needs steering, laissez-faire leadership is needed.
When I was in charge many years ago my leadership style mainly was authoritative more often than not. The majority of the nurses I worked with were newer in nature and needed a ton of guidance and direction. This did not always make me the most popular person, but the unit ran relatively smoothly when I was in charge. The group of nurses I currently work with are by in large experienced ICU nurses. They would not do well with orders but respond better with directed suggestions and guidance. Laissez-faire leadership would be hard for me because I like to have more control. As Zydziunaite & Suominen (2014) suggest, my leadership style varies based upon the situation and context.
Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2017). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Wall Street Journal Staff (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://guides.wsj.com/management/developing-a-leadership-style/how-to-develop-a-leadership-style/?mod=WSJBlog
Zydziunaite, V, & Suominen, T. Leadership styles of nurse managers in ethical dilemmas: Reasons and consequences. Contemporary Nurse, 48(2), 150–16. doi:10.5172/conu.2014.48.2.150