Transitions to Professional Nursing Spring Term 2011

Nursing Armon Copeland Chamberlain College of Nursing 351: Transitions to Professional Nursing Spring Term 2011 Introduction Leadership in the 21st century has been redefined. As leaders we provide the voucher and guidance to begin the journey, while the managers are the ones who drive the team to the destination. Leadership is something you know when you see it, but is very challenging to describe.

Leadership development in the nursing profession is important because it directly impacts the care that is delivered to patients. It is critical that the entire senior leadership have the self-same vision or mental image of what the organization intends to aim for as structure, management and organization in terms of changes for a solid foundation. Leadership Leadership is a blend of personal characteristics, abilities, strategies, and circumstances that enable a leader to influence individuals and organizations to accomplish a goal.

Although there is no single formula for becoming a successful leader, some common elements include self- confidence, courage, a clear vision of the goal and how to reach it, the ability to clearly communicate the goal as well as strong personal commitment, and the ability to inspire trust and respect among followers. Leadership differs from management in that leadership is a combination of personal qualities and abilities whereas management is a process. Leaders are more likely to be effective when they use the management process to achieve goals.

Managers are more effective when their actions demonstrate leadership qualities; thereby earning the respect and trust of those they manage (Hamilton, 1996). Styles of Leadership Transformational and Transactional leadership styles are two very different methods of leadership in the nursing profession. This paper will compare and contrast these two leadership styles and support that transformational leadership style encourages quality care, job fulfillment and improved patient outcomes.

The traditional authoritarian style of leadership the top-down directive approach has largely been replaced with a more democratic and/or participative style, which involves such collaborative behaviors as consulting, discussing, cooperating, or negotiating. No one style is effective for all situations, however, so flexibility is important. For example, an authoritarian approach may be the most effective in dealing with acute situations when decisions must be made and implemented quickly.

Rapid technological growth, increased diversity in the workforce, and growing complexity within organizations has led to changes in the way effective leadership is defined. Leadership researchers and theorists define good leadership as “future-oriented rather than present-oriented and as fostering followers’ commitment and ability to contribute creatively to organizations” (Eagly, 2007). Political scientist James McGregor Burns (1978) described this type of leadership as transformational leadership.

Transformational leaders establish themselves as role models by gaining followers’ trust and confidence. They establish the organization’s goals, plan how to achieve the goals, and innovate. As Eagly (2007) explains, “Transformational leaders mentor and empower their subordinates and encourage them to develop their potential and thus to contribute more effectively to their organization. ” Researchers also describe a more conservative type of leadership as transactional leadership, in which leaders establish exchange relationships with their frontline employees.

After clarifying objectives and subordinates’ responsibilities, transactional leaders reward those who meet objectives and correct them when they fail to meet objectives. The word politics is a loaded term, heavy with images of shady characters in smoke-filled rooms, wheeling, dealing, and often stealing. But politics is really a neutral term. According to Policy and Politics for Nurses, “Politics means influencing, specifically, influences the allocation of scarce resources. Politics is a process by which one influences the decisions of others and exerts control over situations and events.

It is a means to an end” (Mason et al. , 2002). Becoming influential is something that can be learned, and it has as much to do with attitude as with behavior. Both aspects are necessary (Sullivan, 2004). Becoming influential includes such skills as understanding power and how to use it, communicating effectively, understanding the political process, and dealing with difficult people and situations. Conclusion “Work hard, play by the rules, be nice, be polite, hold yourself accountable and you will get ahead. Our mothers were right, up to a point. Taking that advice, you do get ahead and your hard work is rewarded until you hit the glass ceiling. Or, as one physician called it, the “gauze ceiling. ” Being the best at what you do is not enough to break through the gauze ceiling into positions of leadership. It’s not enough to have clinical skills; you need political skills as well. Leaders make a difference in their world by influencing others to support the leader’s vision or cause. To make a difference, you need political skills.

Everything is political in the work environment, professional organization, community, and government. References Hamilton PM. (1996). Realities of Contemporary Nursing, 2nd ed. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley. Eagley AH. (2007). Female leadership advantage and disadvantage: Resolving the contradictions. Psychology of Women Quarterly 31:1–12. Mason DJ, Leavitt JK, Chaffee MW. (2002). Policy and Politics in Nursing and Healthcare, 4th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier. Sullivan EJ. (2004). Becoming Influential: A Guide for Nurses. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.