Management & Leadership Styles in Healthcare

Healthcare leadership and management styles in organizations are of the utmost importance in strengthening the quality and integration of patient care, healthcare outcomes, patient and practitioner satisfaction, and continual business growth. There are countless assessments to determine individual styles of leadership, however, today we are going to focus on six leadership styles in healthcare that are prevalent and relatable to all healthcare fields. They include transformational, transactional, autocratic, laissez-faire, task-oriented, and relationship-oriented leadership.

What are leadership styles in healthcare?

Leadership has been defined as the relationship between the individual/s who lead and those who make the choice to follow, while it refers to the behavior of directing and coordinating the activities of a team or group of people towards a common goal. Leadership styles in healthcare are those characteristics and methods that create and inspire effective innovation, work culture, learning from mistakes, thinking about the future, performance, and in turn, quality patient care.

Healthcare leaders all over the globe are each required to be able to deliver safe, methodical, and expert level care to patients as one of the multiple functions that they perform each and every day. This includes, but is not limited to, being able to drive a team’s motivation, discipline, performance, high-quality patient care and experience, job satisfaction resulting in long term careers, specialized annual training, workplace culture, and pivoting to whatever is transpiring in the arena of public health. It is not an easy task, especially when every individual has a certain way of leading and being led. This is why it is imperative to learn what type of leadership style you or your manager has and how it relates to your position, as well as, the influence it has on effective patient care. The most common leadership styles that we have found are: transformational, transactional, autocratic, laissez-faire, task-oriented, and relationship-oriented leadership.

6 Types of Leadership Approaches in Healthcare

Transformational Leadership Approaches in Healthcare

Transformational Leadership is when a leader inspires positive change through inspirational methods. These types of leaders are generally very charismatic, enthusiastic, uplifting, communicate all necessary information, utilize mistakes as learning opportunities, and are passionate. They are often very hands-on with the goal that they are trying to accomplish and excellent about including everyone and making sure they succeed as well.

Transactional Leadership Approaches in Healthcare

In transactional leadership the leader acts as a manager of change, making exchanges with employees that lead to an improvement in production.

Autocratic Leadership Approaches in Healthcare

An autocratic leader is someone that is authoritarian. They are in charge of the decision-making, implement them, and do not necessarily elicit advice from their subordinates or peers. This is a great trait for those that are navigating an emergency situation.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Approaches in Healthcare

A laissez-faire leader is exactly that, a leader that is wholly hands-off of any decisions or implementation.

Task-Oriented Leadership Approaches in Healthcare

Task-oriented leadership style involves a lot of organization and planning. They usually handle all directives of their subordinates, including the planning of work activities, clarification of individual tasks within the team, and making sure that all involved hit their targets.

Relationship-Oriented Leadership Approaches in Healthcare

Relationship-oriented leadership is very interpersonal with subordinates, peers, and business-to-business relationships. This style incorporates a lot of personal support, continuous professional and interpersonal development, and recognition.

What is the best management style in healthcare?

The best management style in healthcare is a subjective conversation. There is no one-size-fits-all in every office, every field, every medical or emergency situation. This is why it is important to be a dynamic healthcare leader that can tailor your leadership styles depending on the situation at hand. Each individual that is led by a healthcare leader will require a different type of leadership approach when it comes to managing them and the tasks set before them. Understanding your environment and audience is a skill that most leaders have in healthcare. It is often found that the transformational or charismatic leader is most preferred in the healthcare industry. They can effect change while remaining enthusiastic in all situations.

What is the role of leadership in healthcare?

The Institute of Medicine IOM has described six characteristics of high-quality care that must be:

  1. Safe
  2. Effective
  3. Reliable
  4. Patient-centered
  5. Efficient
  6. Equitable.

Measuring health outcomes is a core component of assessing the quality of care. Quality measures are structure, process, outcome, and patient satisfaction. In order to be effective as a healthcare leader, they must maintain all six of those characteristics within their service or product. The leadership style of those at the helm is directly connected to the quality of healthcare that the patient receives and the employee is able to give.

In addition, a leader does not have to be the CEO or a high-ranking officer of a company. A leader can be anyone — they can lead a team to complete a project, provide motivation and communication for implementing new programs, or take the lead in establishing a new program. Leaders are at all levels in an organization be that a small group of 15 or a large multi-leveled organization with thousands of employees.

How do I know my leadership style?

Self-awareness and understanding your leadership style is the best way to learn your strengths and weaknesses as a healthcare leader and create results for your team. In order to learn about yourself, there are countless (free) resources on the internet to determine your leadership style. We also go over this in-depth in our Health Institution Leadership track where students complete multiple assessments and begin to understand their strengths and opportunities in leadership roles.

What is an important skill for a leader to have?

One of the most important leadership skills to have is motivation. You have to be self-motivated to get up out of bed, create a vision for your team members, and conquer each day. You have to be motivated to make countless hard decisions, be goal-oriented and disciplined, enthusiastic about all tasks at hand, think about the future of the organization, and be motivated to create a thriving workplace culture for your staff. Motivated employees are the best and long-lasting employees and they get their direction and motivation from the top.

What is the importance of leadership styles?

As previously mentioned, a motivated healthcare leader invigorates an entire team by being the driving force through initiating action and communication from the very beginning. Understanding the importance of leadership styles of both yourself and of your employees will prove to be very successful for the organization. In understanding the style of leadership you have, you will be able to effectively communicate, establish a balanced work environment, implement change, provide direction, create confident leaders within your team, provide high-quality patient care, while cultivating a healthy work environment for all employees. Excellent leadership styles want to see other leaders emerge on their team. The only way for a team to be truly successful is to understand how each individual organization functions, especially the leadership driving the car.

Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. – Tom Peters

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