11 Leadership Styles in Healthcare

Published by Concordia University, Nebraska 6 months ago on Wed, Mar 30, 2022 3:40 PM

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From providers on the front lines to the office staff who keep the plates spinning, to the leaders, charges and administrators who are tasked with healthcare leadership jobs, today’s healthcare professionals face rewarding but challenging work. 

From staffing shortages to keeping up on technological advances, navigating challenges such as these requires effective leadership—and that stems from effective leadership models in healthcare. 

Those who fulfill healthcare leadership jobs need the skills to deftly handle a variety of responsibilities. They must plan, direct and coordinate healthcare services, ensure compliance with laws and regulations, integrate new technology and much more.

To be successful, leaders and future leaders like yourself must decide how they want to lead. Which of the leadership styles in healthcare are you drawn to? Which more closely aligns with your instincts, values and goals? Do you want to assume the style of servant leadership in healthcare, focusing on others while working toward a common goal? Or maybe you’d like to model transformational leadership in healthcare, which leans toward forging relationships, shared values and ideas?

Leadership styles in healthcare vary. While none of them are perfect, they can all be effective in their own right—especially if they inspire you to find a leadership style of your own.  

Transformational to Servant Leadership in Healthcare: 11 Popular Leadership Styles in Healthcare

Leadership styles in healthcare affect every part of an organization, from workplace morale to the overall effectiveness of the institution or health system itself.

So, what exactly are leadership styles in healthcare? Leadership styles (or leadership models in healthcare) are complex categorizations that describe the fundamental processes behind leaders’ actions. Whether a person in one of the many healthcare leadership jobs likes to make decisions on their own or include input from employees can dictate the leadership style they have consciously or subconsciously adopted.

While there are numerous leadership styles in healthcare and beyond, here is a brief overview of some of the most common:

  1. Transformational
    Transformational leadership in healthcare and other institutions tends to focus on shared values and ideas and forging relationships. Leaders who have strong vision and practice what they preach are often tied to transformational leadership in healthcare and in other fields.
  2. Rational-legal authority 
    Rational-legal authority is a leadership style in which the authority of an institution or organization is largely associated with bureaucracy and legal legitimacy. It can be tied to following rules, laws and regulations to make decisions, set goals and more.
  3. Charismatic authority
    Charismatic authority stems from an individual’s personal qualities and the ability to harness them to inspire and recruit others. This type of leadership is often associated with confidence.
  4. Traditional authority
    This style of leadership gains its power from tradition. It’s often associated with customs and beliefs. Through this style of leadership, employees follow their leaders’ directions because they believe they must. 
  5. Transactional
    Transactional leadership is characterized by an exchange between leaders and staff members. It is essentially the opposite of transformational leadership in healthcare and other fields. Transactional leaders also can be known as managerial leaders, and they tend to be focused on controlling operations and organizing their workload and staff. They also tend to offer their employees clear structure and direction.
  6. Servant 
    Servant leadership in healthcare can be described as serving others. These types of leaders often encourage creativity, promote learning, share their power and help their employees reach their goals. Those who fall within the description of servant leadership in healthcare also may be known as good listeners who are committed to fostering a sense of community and team growth.
  7. Democratic 
    Democratic leaders are characterized by the ways in which they encourage employees to help make decisions and promote honest and open communication and feedback. It’s often said that democratic leaders happily delegate tasks and responsibilities and empower employees to take charge and be accountable for their work.
  8. Laissez-faire
    Laissez-faire leaders take a largely hands-off approach to management. While leaders who fall within this leadership style typically offer little to no direction or structure, they do encourage and empower employees to be innovative, make decisions—and hold them accountable for their actions.
  9. Autocratic
    Leaders under this style make decisions and set plans without the input or opinion of their employees. It is essentially the opposite of servant leadership in healthcare and in other industries. Because decision-making is a solo effort on behalf of the leader with this leadership style, it is often considered ideal in emergency situations that require quick decisions.
  10. Innovative
    This style of leadership tends to focus on offering a new perspective and helping others think differently—especially when it comes to tackling challenges, solving problems or making the most of limited resources.
  11. Situational
    Situational leadership can be characterized as a mix of several leadership models in healthcare and in other fields. It is most associated with a leader’s ability to adapt their leadership or management style based on situational need, and can include giving clear-cut directions and encouragement, sharing work and being flexible.

Now that you know the basics of various leadership models in healthcare, do any speak to you? Do you hope to embody transformational leadership in healthcare? Or, perhaps you lean more toward innovative approaches. Each of the many leadership models in healthcare have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to leaders like you to make the most of them.

Discover Your Leadership Styles in Healthcare at Concordia Nebraska

If leadership is your calling and you aspire to take on one of the many gratifying healthcare leadership jobs in the field, preparing for your future success begins with choosing the right graduate program in healthcare administration.

At Concordia University, Nebraska, our online master’s in healthcare administration degree program will prepare you for leadership and service in a variety of careers—and it’ll help you adopt your own leadership styles in healthcare, too.

Grounded in the Lutheran faith, our M.H.A. program will show you how to infuse Christian values into the ethical dilemmas you’ll face in a variety of healthcare leadership jobs to help you create their resolutions. As you earn your M.H.A. degree, you’ll dive deeper into leadership models in healthcare and acquire the skills you need to make positive, lasting changes in the field. 

Is Concordia Nebraska for you? Request information today and learn more about what we have to offer.