NURS 6053 Week 4 Leadership Theories in Practice

NURS 6053 Week 4 Leadership Theories in Practice
NURS 6053 Week 4 Leadership Theories in Practice
A walk through the Business section of any bookstore or a quick Internet search on the topic will reveal a seemingly endless supply of writings on leadership. Formal research literature is also teeming with volumes on the subject.
NURS 6053 Week 4 Discussion Leadership Theories in Practice
However, your own observation and experiences may suggest these theories are not always so easily found in practice. Not that the potential isn’t there; current evidence suggests that leadership factors such as emotional intelligence and transformational leadership behaviors, for example, can be highly effective for leading nurses and organizations.
Yet, how well are these theories put to practice? In this Discussion, you will examine formal leadership theories. You will compare these theories to behaviors you have observed firsthand and discuss their effectiveness in impacting your organization.
To Prepare:
Review the Resources and examine the leadership theories and behaviors introduced.
Identify two to three scholarly resources, in addition to this Module’s readings, that evaluate the impact of leadership behaviors in creating healthy work environments.
Reflect on the leadership behaviors presented in the three resources that you selected for review.
When Kathleen Yosko, now CEO of Northwestern Medicine’s Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center, began her first job as a hospital president, there was no onboarding process planned, and no one to welcome her. Thinking it was a mistake, Yosko called her headquarters for advice. They told her, “Just do whatever a president does.”
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Fortunately, Yosko was a seasoned leader and she intuited where to start. But for many others, our first forays into leadership felt much like Yosko’s first day: knowing how to start was not obvious. In many companies, individuals are promoted because of their technical skill – they are gifted engineers, accountants, or marketers – but that does not mean they are prepared for leadership. Leadership is a skill that can be learned, but it takes intentionality.
In the past half century, the study of leadership has grown, offering many new theories and frameworks for exploring what it means to be a leader, and how to do leadership well. In this article, we outline five current leadership theories, and offer resources and suggestions for integrating the theories into your own leadership practice. We will explore:

Transformational Leadership
Leader-Member Exchange Theory
Adaptive Leadership
Strengths-Based Leadership
Servant Leadership

But First, A Quick Review of Leadership History
Before we begin, we need to put leadership theory and practice in the context of history, to understand how the field of study has evolved. The earliest theories of leadership were the Great Man Theories, which emerged in the late 1800s. (Perhaps you can see one primary fault with these theories, just from their name: they assumed only half the world’s population could even be considered for leadership.) The Great Man concept evolved into trait-based theories of leadership, which defined leadership by a leader’s characteristics, most of which were considered innate. You were either lucky enough to be born with them, or you weren’t. (Starting, first, with a Y chromosome.) For many of us, our first understanding of leadership may have aligned with these theories: leaders were often men with dominant personalities. We still see this theory at play unconsciously today, when someone is overlooked for a leadership role because of a quiet personality.
In the middle of the last century, the study of leadership shifted from the study of traits to the study of behaviors: not who the leader is but what the leader does. This allowed for an understanding that leadership could be developed in others. The most prominent leadership theories today build on this understanding, and begin to integrate the perspective of followers and the contextual circumstances in which leaders and followers interact. As business, and our understanding of human nature, grows more complex, leadership theories and frameworks should evolve to accommodate the new contexts and understandings.
Defining Leadership
Before we unpack contemporary theories of leadership, we need to define the term itself. Leadership theory scholar Dr. Peter Northouse defines leadership as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.” This definition makes clear that leadership is not a trait or behavior, and it is not a position. You are not made a leader by your job title, you are made a leader by your influence.
Finally, contemporary theories of leadership wrestle with the motivations of leaders: can you be a leader if your goal is selfish or even malicious? The classic question is, “Was Adolf Hitler a leader?” Theories of leadership must wrestle with the moral implications of a leader’s motivations. As you’ll see in several of the theories below, many theories would answer the question of Hitler with a firm no: Hitler was a dictator, but not a leader. He had positional authority, but did not show true leadership.
To begin our exploration of leadership theories, let’s start with one of the most researched and referenced today, transformational leadership.

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