Transformational Leadership in Nursing Practice

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There are four major attributes associated with a transformational leader. This approach was defined by Sullivan and Decker (2001) as a kind of evolutionary effecting of changes at the organizational level to achieve the mission of said organization. As such, certain attributes are associated with this kind of leadership, namely: idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration and inspirational motivation. From this four would spring all other attributes that a transformational leader would have.

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Idealized influences involve the use of charismatic behavior with followers for the impartation of desirable behavior and organizational culture (Nayab, 2010). Much investigation has been done specially with the role of charisma in the transformational leadership model. Research has shown that charismatic leadership is universally endorsed for the purposes of transformational leadership (Den Hartog, House, Hanges, Ruiz-Quintanilla, & Dorfman, 1999). Furthermore, different professions have found that transformational leaders often have charismatic approaches to problem solving. In addition, transformational leaders are able to share the vision with their followers (Bass, 1993); ensuring that organizational goals such as quality care and evidence-based practice application are enacted for the better provision of services. Such a leader will then lead by example, which is the beginning of internal motivation in the team.

Inspirational views further include the articulation of a desirable future, ensuring participant and team member satisfaction in the course of achieving these goals and encouraging team integration to common goals (Sullivan & Decker, 2001). The role of the transformational leader is to motivate workers to do more than what they had originally intended to do (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Bass (1997) found that this motivation transcended the organizational boundaries so that leaders and followers in whatever field are more likely to emulate the transformational leader. Therefore, the nurse leader showing transformational attributes becomes an object of inspiration to their team, creating better workplace efficiency.

Furthermore, such a leader will cultivate an environment where there is constant intellectual stimulation, bearing in mind that this is an environment with healthcare professionals. Such an approach will thus favor team inclusion, listening to team members views and contributions, public recognition of achievements among other stimulation and reward exercises (Nayab, 2010). Bass, in extensive research, has found that intellectual motivation for the team members is an integral part of the transformational leadership process (Bass, 1999; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Bass & Riggio, 2006). Such an environment encourages the critical analysis of workplace practice, such as the use of evidence-based practice and theories of nursing care, in order to create an environment of information sharing and team-member empowerment.

Lastly, individual concerns are also brought out more clearly under this approach. Issues of fair workload distribution, drafting congratulatory notes among other team-member satisfaction efforts are brought into focus here. This is the continued two-way communication between the leader and team member that allows for the flow of information towards achievement of organizational goals (Jung, Bass, & Sosik, 1995).

As such, the elements of the emotional intelligence are reached. Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills are all achievements of the transformational leadership style. The team is aware of itself as members of an integrated unit, while self regulation is achieved via the application of specific rules and models of practice. Motivation is seen as an integral part of the transformational leadership model while empathy and social skills comprise the communication aspect of the leadership approach. With this approach, the nurse leader would adequately achieve leadership goals within the practice environment.

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