Nursing Theories in Practice

Organizational leadership is a catalyst for quality improvement initiatives and effective management of human resources. In healthcare contexts, leaders are responsible for ensuring that organizations and employees thrive amidst ever-increasing demands for quality care and complexities in the current healthcare systems.

Nursing Theories in Practice

According to Cakir & Adiguzel (2020), leadership is “the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to understand and influence people to realize what is to be done and how and to realize the shared objectives” (p. 2). In the same breath, Jaroliya & Gyanchandani (2021) contend that leadership entails the ability to motivate, boost confidence, and support teams that work towards achieving organizational goals. In this sense, leaders play a significant role in establishing the organizational direction, cultivating a culture of team performance and excellence, and expediting actions consistent with the strategic goals.

Different leadership theories describe effective behaviors and activities that enable leaders to execute their roles as role models, change agents, and sources of inspiration. These theories include situational leadership and transformational leadership.

According to Marc et al. (2019), situational leadership theory relies on the premise that leaders must change the degree of supportiveness and directness to their followers due to the prevailing situation and the level of motivation. This leadership style allows openness between leaders and followers and enables leaders to understand their followers’ characteristics before deciding on leadership approaches.

On the other hand, transformational leadership theory emphasizes the leader’s competency to improve employees’ performance beyond expectations by capitalizing on intrinsic motivation. Khan et al. (2020) argue that this leadership style has four profound components: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation.

Transformational leaders motivate and transform followers by improving their awareness of designated goals, encouraging them to transcend self-interests in favor of organizational objectives, and articulating an inspiring vision while acting as role models (Steinmann et al., 2018). This theory is effective in facilitating change and quality improvement initiatives in healthcare organizations.

In my experience as a healthcare professional, I have witnessed situations where organizational leaders have adopted either situational or transformational leadership. An example when a leader utilized situational leadership is during the COVID-19 pandemic when we encountered various challenges, including a steady upsurge of patients requiring emergency care, increased workloads, overwhelmed departments, and burnout.

Before the pandemic, we majorly operated on democratic leadership. However, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted our organizational leader to rethink this approach. Consequently, he embarked on interventions for cultivating a conducive and supportive workplace culture by providing emotional support, encouraging employees to be selfless when providing care, and fostering openness in sharing information and teamwork. By changing leadership behaviors consistent with the situation, employees agreed to extend their shifts and operate as a team to deliver timely and convenient care.

Equally, I have witnessed a scenario when our organizational leaders used transformational leadership to spearhead change and quality improvement initiatives. At one point, our organization’s top leadership perceived the need to install barcoding technology and e-prescribing modalities to reduce and prevent medication errors.

As a result, leaders embarked on change initiation activities that involved creating a sense of urgency, educating employees on the importance of these technologies, empowering and motivating employees, and leveraging feedback to improve the change process. These Interventions were effective in addressing restraining factors for change, challenging the status quo, and inspiring change. Consequently, employees partnered with leaders to implement, evaluate, and sustain new clinical systems.

Based on these incidences regarding the application of the two leadership styles, it is valid to contend that each leadership approach was effective in enabling the organization to thrive in different circumstances. However, transformational leadership emerges as a more sustainable leadership approach compared to situational leadership because it enables leaders to set inspiring visions, promote team performance, bolster staff satisfaction, and encourage creativity and innovation. As a result, it has the plausibility of improving care quality and leading to positive outcomes.


Cakir, F. S., & Adiguzel, Z. (2020). Analysis of leader effectiveness in organization and knowledge sharing behavior on employees and organization. SAGE Open, 10(1), 1–14. Sagepub.

Jaroliya, Dr. D., & Gyanchandani, R. (2021). Transformational leadership style: A boost or hindrance to team performance in the IT sector. Vilakshan – XIMB Journal of Management, 19(1), 87–105. Emerald.

Khan, H., Rehmat, M., Butt, T. H., Farooqi, S., & Asim, J. (2020). Impact of transformational leadership on work performance, burnout and social loafing: A mediation model. Future Business Journal, 6(1), 1–13.

Marc, C., Makai Dimény, D., & Bacter, C. (2019). The social worker-client relationship: difficulties and solutions. SERIES VII – SOCIAL SCIENCES and LAW, 61(12)(2), 377–386.

Steinmann, B., Klug, H. J. P., & Maier, G. W. (2018). The path is the goal: How transformational leaders enhance followers’ job attitudes and proactive behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(2338).