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Leadership Roles and Management Functions

Leadership is the process through which a person, in this case the leader, influences a group of people towards the realization of a common goal. The effectiveness of leadership depends on the style of leadership that the leader adopts, and usually depends on the context of leadership. This implies that different leadership styles are effective in different situations (Tittemore, 2003). Therefore, effective leaders are supposed to know the context through which a particular approach of leadership will be effective. In addition, the leadership approaches can be used for defining the personal leadership style that a person is likely to put into practice (Kippenberger, 2002). This paper discusses two leadership styles and identifies the most effective leadership that suits the philosophy of nursing leadership. In addition, the paper compares and contrasts leadership and management.

The two main leadership styles discussed in this paper are autocratic and democratic leadership styles. Autocratic leadership style is whereby the leader has much power and makes use of the authority vested on him/her to initiate leadership actions such as decision-making (Marquis & Huston, 2008). Autocratic leadership style bases on the transactional theory, which lays more emphasis on the significance of the relationship that exists between the leader and the followers. The followers are supposed to obey the orders from their leaders (Marquis & Huston, 2008). In addition, this leadership style lacks participative approach to leadership because the staffs are not consulted under any circumstance. This is administered by using a structured outline of the rewards and punishments for failing to follow the directives from the leader. Autocratic leadership is normally effective in cases whereby supervision is needed to get things done, and where the followers can challenge their leader’s authority. In addition, it can be effective in cases where the decision-making time is limited. However, this leadership style is not effective in cases whereby the followers are resentful and have low morale (Marquis & Huston, 2008).

The democratic leadership style is also referred to as participative leadership style, which is based on the transformational theory, whereby the core concept of leadership focuses on change and a visionary leadership with the goal of enhancing both individual and organizational performance. Democratic leadership usually entails a participative approach to leadership whereby the followers are also given a chance to develop their leadership skills through the use shared leadership and participative decision making. The staff are also involved in the problem solving process, and in the process, they become effective leaders of their own (Miner, 2005). Democratic leadership is effective in cases whereby there is need for follower motivation and the need for each to develop one’s leadership abilities. In the context of the philosophy of nursing leadership, a democratic approach to leadership is more efficient compared to autocratic leadership. This because the nursing environment is a dynamic one and such operations can be run effectively depending on the decisions that are made by one leader. In addition, the nature nursing work does not need an authoritarian approach since it will be subject to mixed reactions, which will significantly impede the effectiveness of nursing operations (Marquis & Huston, 2008).

There are vast differences between leadership and management. By definition, leadership can be described as the process through which a leader influences a group of individuals towards the achievement of a common goal. Management on the other hand can be viewed as decision-making process that relies on the organizational policies; it entails the organization and coordination of organizational activities according to the organizational policies and with the aim of achieving a particular goal. The main difference between management and leadership is that leadership entails the formulation of a new direction and vision for the organizational members, while management entails directing and controlling of organizational resources based on already established organizational policies and values. Leaders have the responsibility of establishing organizational mission, while leaders have the responsibility of implementing the established missions (Tittemore, 2003).


Kippenberger, T. (2002). Leadership Styles. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Marquis, B., & Huston, J. (2008). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: theory and application. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Miner, J. B. (2005). Organizational Behavior: Behavior 1: Essential Theories of Motivation and Leadership. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.

Tittemore, J. (2003). Leadership at all Levels. Ontario, Canada: Boskwa Publishing.

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