Giltinane’s “Leadership Styles and Theories. Nursing Standard.”

The article by Giltinane (2013) contains a comprehensive description of three leadership styles: transactional, transformational, and situational. The author also provides examples of each style and concludes that situational leadership is a preferred approach. The transactional leader tends to build relationships with employees based on a reward/punishment system. If a worker displays a certain level of compliance, this leader gives positive feedback: “she would reward tasks completed to a high standard by being pleasant and complimentary for the rest of the shift” (p. 37). Some staff members may find this approach suitable and follow the supervisor’s instructions and meet their demands. However, transactional leader concentrating on the operational side usually disregards personal traits and details of relationships between nurses. Such a flaw in a management style can negatively influence the overall team efficacy.

On the contrary, a transformational leader can pay attention to the individual context; this approach is much more personal: “This leader recognised my strengths in organisation and time management, and enhanced these skills by encouraging me to take on the role of shift co-ordinator, and by asking me to complete clinical audits” (p. 37). Such a manager provides employees with a greater level of freedom in their work and facilitates their professional development based on their current and potential capabilities. Transformational leadership style establishes a better environment for building strong personal connections within the group and creating inspiring goals. Teams tend to operate more sufficiently under this kind of supervision. However, such a style can lack some directiveness in critical situations which in medical facilities are extremely common. A transformational leader may hesitate to act harshly when it is needed, placing individual feelings above the operational effectiveness of the team.

The situational style combines these two approaches into one. A successful situational leader can choose an appropriate type of behavior according to circumstances, shifting from a personal context to authoritarian management. Such flexibility is advantageous regarding goals achievement, but at the same time it might be quite challenging: a leader would have to consider all working processes from multiple standpoints constantly, and the risk of burnout would be high.

Impact of Giltinane Article Content on Future Practice

A comprehensive description of common leadership styles allows any person in a management position to define his or her approach and consider its strengths and weaknesses. Such practical information gives an opportunity to understand one’s behavior as a leader and eventually adjust it to specific demands, preferably aiming for situational versatility. I think a good manager should develop the most important skill – the skill of knowing what leadership style would be suitable depending on the circumstances.

From my perspective, a situational approach appears to be more efficient. Relationships are critical in teamwork, and it is reasonable to learn individual characteristics of each member and find ways to use them for both that person’s and the team’s benefit. However, in some cases, it is necessary to take responsibility for the group and make decisions, directing what exactly everyone should do and how. To succeed, a leader needs to learn how to be different. Such flexibility is also a skill valuable for any job at any level of management; almost any working environment implies interactions with other people. Therefore, there are many chances to cooperate and manage. Articles like this one make a path of professional development more clear, highlighting possible ways of improving your competence.


Giltinane, C.L. (2013). Leadership styles and theories. Nursing Standard, 27(41), 35-39. doi:10.7748/ns2013.

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