Effective leadership is essential in healthcare settings, for it ensures a high-quality healthcare system. High-quality healthcare refers to the provision of safe and efficient care to patients. Healthcare professionals need to adopt suitable leadership styles as well as theories pertinent to their nursing practice. Broad knowledge of the existing leadership styles equips professionals into becoming effective leaders, alongside improving the interpersonal relationships with workmates and other leaders (Sfantou, Laliotis, Patelarou, Sifaki-Pistolla, Matalliotakis, & Patelarou, 2017). There are about eight leadership styles, but this paper aims to explain democratic leadership and discuss its effects on patient care and patient outcomes, teamwork, and the healthcare organization.
Democratic leadership is also known as participatory leadership. This style is derived from the theory surrounding democracy. In this view, the leader makes decisions based on the input of each team member. All team members make contributions to the issue at hand, although the final decision lies in the leader of the team. Democratic leadership has proved useful because it allows for participation by lower-level employees in the decision-making process (Xu, 2017). As such, they also possess the power to exercise authority apart from having a say in the journey towards the achievement of healthcare goals. For this style, the leader can gather the team members and give them selected decision-related options from which they can hold a discussion. Afterward, the leader can take the ideas, thoughts, as well as feedback into consideration, or the decision might be agreed upon through voting where the majority wins. The participation of workers in the decision-making process helps in creating more engagement in the management process (Xu, 2017). Consequently, workers end up being more committed to the objectives of the healthcare institution and motivated towards working efficiently.
In the healthcare setting, participatory leadership has a significant effect on patient care and patient outcomes. Leaders here are expected to ensure that the nursing staff provides the best possible patient care by employing evidence-based practice techniques. Proper leadership alongside quality medical facilities are the key factors towards achieving improved patient satisfaction, reduced medical complications, and ultimately better patient safety outcomes. When it comes to patient care, the leaders encourage the team members to communicate freely and contribute to the decision-making of patients' welfare in the institution. The leader majorly focuses on the satisfaction of the patients by ensuring the delivery of quality nursing care and reliable treatment. Systems and processes in healthcare facilities are usually improved through this leadership because decisions are made collectively, and so blame games due to mistakes are eliminated in the team. For instance, the nurses can decide on ways to manage their demanding nurse to patient ratio to provide quality care in the shortest time possible. This entails assigning personal responsibilities to the nurses and holding them accountable for their set targets. Feedback on their performance gives the room for corrections and adjustments where necessary. Through such a leadership style, then patient care, as well as patient outcomes, are improved because the quality of systems and processes is advanced, and mistakes accruing from individual team members are eliminated.
A democratic leader is also very comfortable in asking and receiving input and ideas from staff or preferably team members and also other stakeholders. Democratic leadership, therefore, fosters participation among employees, resulting in innovation and proper solutions to an organization's problems. Employee consultation is key to the progress of an organization, and democratic leadership offers not only consultation but also participation. Despite the leader having the final say on all matters, the team of workers' voice on the matter is accepted. There are several effects of democratic leadership on the team of employees. Democratic leadership brings about better and fruitful cooperation on the staff or employees. The workers are invited to discuss problems, sensitive organization matters for better decision making (Joshi, 2017). This enables the workers to understand why particular decisions were made correctly. It also grants team members a sense of belonging, resulting in their full commitment to the organization.
Democratic leadership also enhances creativity among employees as workers become freer to share ideas aiding in developing innovation. Supportive democratic leaders also work hand in hand with the employees as a team to SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goals. This type of leadership, however, is not suitable for every state of affairs. Other decisions affect the safety of workers that should be handled by specialists and also other decisions that should not be open to discussion with the team. Involving may result in adverse decisions that will ultimately affect the output of the workers as a team.
Participatory leadership has both negative and positive, with some being on the health organization itself. Mutual trust is built among all those involved in the health organization bringing about organization commitment, the proper understanding of objectives and goals of the health organization, and working towards achieving them. Democratic leadership also enhances interactions in the health organization, which contributes positively to making the working place comfortable as most workers know each other well enough. The decisions made in a democratic health organization are likely to better and wise as the leader hears others' views on the problem at hand.
However, this type of leadership also results in critical and urgent decisions being made after a long time within which the problem may have become worse, bringing about the downfall of the health organization. Democratic leadership also mostly fail to be harsh enough to enforce proper and efficient services as there is low motivation in the health organization as others may misjudge participation with freedom(Al Rahbi, Khalid, & Khan, 2017). All in all, democratic leadership is one of the most effective styles as input is diverse and output efficiency. The ability to give opportunities to all forms of reasoning on problems or matters makes it easy for the leader to come up with the best solutions to help the organization move forward.
Al Rahbi, D., Khalid, K., & Khan, M. (2017). The effects of leadership styles on team motivation. Academy of Strategic Management Journal. Retrieved from https://www.abacademies.org/articles/the-effects-of-leadership-styles-on-team-motivation-6793.html
Joshi, B. (2017). Time to adopt mixed leadership style. Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management, 7(8), 52-68. DOI: 10.5958/2249-7307.2017.00129.3
Sfantou, D. F., Laliotis, A., Patelarou, A. E., Sifaki-Pistolla, D., Matalliotakis, M., & Patelarou, E. (2017, December). Importance of leadership style towards quality of care measures in healthcare settings: a systematic review. In Healthcare (Vol. 5, No. 4, p. 73). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare5040073
Xu, J. H. (2017). Leadership theory in clinical practice. Chinese Nursing Research, 4(4), 155-157. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095771817300944
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