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What Are the Different Types of Leadership Styles in Nursing?

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Every day, nurses are responsible for the health and well-being of their patients. To ensure continuity of patient care, every nurse on a unit works together to achieve shared goals. This cohesive team works diligently to promote patient health, safety and recovery. To achieve this unity, the nursing manager coordinates and supervises all interactions between her team members. To do this, the nursing manager utilizes a specific nursing leadership style.

Transformational Leadership

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With the transformational style of nursing leadership, the focus is to unite the nursing manager and her employees to work toward a shared goal. Through their united goal, all members of the team work together “to purse a greater good,” according to the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. This leadership styles allows nurses to take an active role in evaluating, establishing and changing policies. By carefully observing current policies and providing feedback to their leader, nurses help promote the best actions for patient care. As explained by, the transformational style is “more highly correlated with perceived group effectiveness and job satisfaction.”

Transactional Leadership

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The transactional leadership ship style is relatively basic. According to, transactional leadership is “short-lived, episodic and task-based.” With this style of nursing leadership, the nursing manager only interacts with her employees when something needs to be done or when something is wrong. The nursing manager will inform her employees when tasks are in need of completion. She will then retreat, allowing them to complete the tasks on their own. If the manager see a need for changes or corrections, she will intervene with negative feedback. Although this leadership style is not conducive to creating a close relationship between the leader and her employees, it can be effective during specific projects or tasks.

Dynamic Leadership

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The dynamic leadership style modeled its foundation after the nursing theory set by Ida Jean Orlando, whose nursing experience is extensive. Orlando received her Bachelor of Science degree in public health nursing and her master's degree in mental health nursing. She went on to become the director of the Graduate Program in Mental Health and Yale School of Nursing. In 1961, she published a book titled “The Dynamic Nurse-Patient Relationship,” in which she introduced her leadership theory to the world. The dynamic leadership style uses the idea that the relationship between the leader and the nurse is ever-changing; both parties are absolutely essential to the success of the entire nursing unit. Rather than controlling her employees, the dynamic leader simply offers direction; this allows the nurse a significant amount of control in her work.


Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.

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