Why Is Transformational Leadership in Nursing Important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Transformational leadership is a direct approach to managing human resources that helps you improve employee performance and foster opportunities for career development. As a professional, you can apply this leadership style across different fields, including in a nursing role. Learning how transformational leadership functions in nursing can help you determine if this is the best leadership style to adopt to improve your team's performance. In this article, we consider transformational leadership in nursing, discuss its components, outline the importance of this leadership style, and highlight the essential qualities of transformational nursing leaders.

What is transformational leadership in nursing?

Transformational leadership in nursing is a leadership style that encourages individual nursing employees to explore their initiative, embrace responsibilities in their roles, and exceed expectations. This approach seeks to inverse the top-down approach, where staff merely take instructions and directives. Transformational leadership is a more sustainable approach as nursing employees improve their ability to identify goals, set targets, and execute tasks rather than only take instructions. Nurses or nurse administrators who employ this method are competent at motivating others and organizing professionals into teams. Transformational leadership also involves setting an impeccable example for others to follow.

Read more: 6 Types of Nursing Leadership Styles (With Qualities)

Components of transformational leadership in nursing

Here are some of the key components that constitute transformational leadership among nursing professionals:

Leadership by example

One of the leading components of successful transformational leadership is the ability of the leader to set a great example. Such an example effectively actualizes collective aims and shows team members or nursing employees how to replicate those results. This component of transformational leadership is also important for its encouragement of productivity. Usually, nurses can improve their performance by emulating transformational leaders who live up to the standards they require of others.

Read more: 8 Essential Tips for Leading by Example in the Workplace

Individual assessment

Transformational leaders are adept at assessing individual nurses' competence and skill sets. These assessments usually result from the leader's strong observational skills and dedication to familiarizing themselves with every nurse. With this knowledge, nursing leaders can adequately motivate, communicate with, and delegate duties to individual nurses.

Thinking creatively

The transformational leadership style aims to significantly increase the productivity of individual nurses by encouraging them to think creatively for themselves. Entrusting tasks to nurses and encouraging them to offer their insights provides various avenues to develop creative thinking. This makes it important for leaders to foster creative thinking through flexible approaches to tasks and the encouragement of team interactions.

Related: 7 Steps to Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

Clear vision and objective

Outlining and articulating clear collective goals and objectives to nurses forms an important component of transformational leadership. Leaders adopting this style clearly envision how they intend to transform an organization or improve its productivity. They can then communicate the essence of this vision to individual nurses or professional teams. Usually, maintaining clarity with goals and objectives is important in motivating nurses and inspiring them to grow.

Read more: What Are Leadership Vision Statements? Definition and Examples

Importance of transformational leadership for nurses

Here are some of the important benefits nursing employees or teams can enjoy from adopting a transformational leadership approach:

Job satisfaction

Health care institutions that employ a transformational leadership style tend to record higher job satisfaction among professionals. The style encourages nurses to take on responsibilities and observe the direct implication of their improvements. Acknowledging their growth encourages them to do more, fostering a positive work attitude. Higher job satisfaction also positively influences retention rates, as professionals are eager to remain within work environments where their contributions are notable.

Related: What Is Job Satisfaction and Why Is It Important?

Team spirit

The transformational leadership style requires team members to collaborate on different tasks to achieve a collective goal. These interactions and collaborations foster a strong team spirit and help professionals establish sustainable bonds. Strong connections among professionals are also helpful in establishing a sense of belonging and drive towards larger goals.

Productivity

Productivity remains one of the main benefits and focus of the transformational leadership style. This style introduces varying approaches to help nurses feel more comfortable and fulfilled in their roles. Such responsibilities help professionals feel more confident and encourage them to approach patient care and other tasks with greater involvement. Higher productivity can also result from this leadership style, as it encourages team collaboration. Nurses can inspire other members of their team or department with their conduct, improving the team's overall performance.

Read more: What Is the Importance of Productivity in the Workplace?

Patient safety and care

There's a direct relationship between the level of comfort and involvement nurses feel in their roles and the care they offer patients. With high job satisfaction, patients tend to enjoy a better level of care from nurses. Similarly, patients who enjoy greater professional care are more likely to express deeper satisfaction. Patient care and safety remain the priority of health care institutions, so the transformational leadership style effectively realizes its vital goal.

Read more: What Is Patient-Centred Care? (With Elements and Benefits)

Professional growth

Nurses who carry out their roles under a transformational nursing leader are likely to communicate more effectively, remain productive, and think creatively. These factors result in sustainable professional growth among nurses. Such growth directly impacts the performance and image of the health care institution. Nurses who develop their skills by interacting with new responsibilities under this leadership style readily aspire to higher career opportunities.

Morale

High morale is a key benefit of the transformational leadership style. Usually, with this leadership style, nurses can maintain an effective work-life balance as they positively engage with their tasks and remain organized. An effective work-like balance allows nurses to enjoy their job, increasing their workplace morale. High morale also helps individual nurses and teams remain resilient when facing challenges.

Essential qualities for transformational leaders in nursing

Here are some qualities essential to your success as a nursing professional employing transformational leadership:

Communication

Communication remains one of the key traits that successful transformational leaders possess and improve. This quality is vital in engaging nurses and ensuring that collective goals or targets resonate with them. High engagement levels help professionals feel connected to an organization and develop a sense of value as you recognize their efforts. Communication also plays a vital role in giving constructive feedback and fostering professional growth and development among nurses. You can also apply this skill when exchanging written communication, like e-mails or memos.

Related: 15 Communication Skills for Professionals to Develop

Conflict resolution

Transformative leaders possess strong people skills, and conflict resolution is important in relating effectively with others. You can use this skill to listen actively to disputing parties and outline compromises that benefit both parties. With such compromises, you can build more resilient teams and encourage professionals to disagree with one another respectfully. Conflict resolution techniques allow you to establish patterns that other professionals can follow under similar circumstances. For instance, if two professionals have conflicting opinions on the best treatment to administer to a patient, you can consider their opinions, document them, and incorporate them for present and future cases.

Read more: What Conflict Resolution Skills are Important for Workplace Success?

Supportiveness

Nurses are more likely to develop in work environments where they feel valued. This makes it important to remain supportive of employees and offer guidance that helps professionals attain collective goals. It's most effective to offer support from a knowledgeable perspective. Establishing a rapport can make the support you offer nurses more effective. Such a relationship can help you better determine their needs and offer support that aligns with them.

Empathy

Another important component of a transformational leader's skills is empathy. Empathy helps you connect with the needs of professionals you interact with regularly and patients you meet for the first time. This openness to the feelings and needs of others can help you improve the productivity of your teams by delegating situations to the professionals best suited for them. Empathy also helps you empower nurses as you can guide them into exploring alternate methods or approaches when they encounter difficulties.

Positivity

A key component of the transformational leadership style is leading by example. It's helpful to maintain a positive outlook that influences others to maintain high morale levels. High morale levels among professionals and across teams can also improve productivity and help you meet your collective goals effectively. A positive attitude helps you deal effectively with professionals, remain organized, and manage stress.

Fairness

Professionals tend to focus more on tasks when they function in an environment that prioritizes merit, value, and performance. This sense of fairness makes it helpful to establish a pattern of just assessments or evaluations and acknowledging professionals as due. Having such a quality improves how your nurses trust and depend on your judgement. You can also encourage nurses to receive constructive feedback and adopt innovative approaches to achieve better results by remaining fair.

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