Comparison of Leadership Models and Styles


Leadership is an inherent part of many jobs, including nursing. Employees and managers can use their skills to guide others, delegate tasks, or assume responsibility for actions and changes. To understand one’s view of leadership, a person can consider a variety of models and behaviors. The aspects of these approaches create different patterns of employee-manager interactions. In nursing, the choice of a leadership model and style is especially important since nurses’ job is demanding and stressful (Silva et al., 2017). This essay considers my personal model of leadership, transformational, in relation to the philosophy of servant leadership and other approaches.

Models of Leadership

Personal Model of Leadership

Transformational leadership is a model that can be used in many settings. Its distinctive feature is the focus on employee motivation that leads to meaningful change and innovation. According to this ideology, a leader is a person who aims to involve all employees in the organizational processes (Lavoie‐Tremblay, Fernet, Lavigne, & Austin, 2016). In contrast to other models, transformational leadership is not interested in setting specific goals for workers as much as in employees’ professional growth (Boamah, Laschinger, Wong, & Clarke, 2018). To achieve the targets of the organization, this type of leader fosters a communicative, transparent, and motivating environment for its subordinates.

The use of this model by an advanced practice nurse fits with the needs of the nursing staff. In general, nurses are professionals who know what their duties and goals are. However, they may lack inspiration or a sense of teamwork when entering a new environment. In this case, transformational leadership allows one to guide without micromanaging (Masood & Afsar, 2017). As a result, staff members feel supported and cared for, but not monitored or limited in their professional abilities. Moreover, since transformational leadership values employee contribution, the openness of a leader to discussions and feedback inspires organizational change and improves outcomes.

The practice of Servant Leadership

The presented transformational model has many principles that align with the servant leadership philosophy. In the case of servant leadership, the primary duty of any leader is to serve their employees (Spears & Lawrence, 2016). Such ideology shifts the primary attention from client or business’ goals to workers’ needs (Seto & Sarros, 2016). As an outcome, it is believed that a servant leader creates an environment in which employees want to deliver the best results and contribute to the organization. To compare, traditional leadership maintains the importance of hierarchy in the team and establishes power-based structures that determine whose input is the most valuable to the decision-making process (Hanse, Harlin, Jarebrant, Ulin, & Winkel, 2016). A servant leader does not limit employees’ power but shares it with them.

As can be seen above, many of the characteristics that are linked to servant leadership are also typical for the transformational model. The attention to employees’ voices is highlighted in both approaches, and the collaborative spirit is strong in the two models. The practice of servant leadership does not put the leader on top of the employee structure, making the managing figure one of the participants with a duty to help others (Hoch, Bommer, Dulebohn, & Wu, 2018). Similarly, a transformational leader seeks to improve the performance and wellbeing of the subordinates (Tyczkowski et al., 2015). Such a leader uses inspiration based on people’s individual abilities and objectives and combines them with organizational goals.

Other Leadership Models

Nonetheless, not all models are compatible with the servant leadership philosophy. For example, the transactional approach outlines different goals and values for employees. The foundation of this model is performance, and the leader acts as a supervisor. The source of motivation in transformational leadership comes from employees’ skills as well as the leader’s encouragement, while a transactional leader uses a rewards and punishments system. Workers are expected to complete tasks without errors in order to succeed. This model, although beneficial in some situations, does not support the servant leader’s vision. It does not encourage proactive leadership since managers are involved in the staff’s performance only to assess and critique it (Saravo, Netzel, & Kiesewetter, 2017). Furthermore, transactional leadership operates according to the rules without the goal of bringing or inviting change. Here, workers are expected to be motivated by their own tangible interests. Servant leadership, in contrast, values workers’ intellectual input and supports collaborative efforts.

Another model that has some similarities to the transformational one is charismatic leadership. This approach is also focused on improving employee performance and motivating people to grow professionally (Grabo, Spisak, & van Vugt, 2017). However, the source of inspiration in this model comes not from the people’s individual characteristics but the leader’s personal vision and example. Charismatic leaders want their workers to accept the image supported by the figure of authority (Grago et al., 2017). The responsibility is not shifted to employees, and the leader guides others towards common goals which are not derived from communication but from one person’s plan. This lack of interaction and autonomy does not fit in with servant leadership.

Models’ Implementation

The use of the philosophies discussed above can be differentiated by the basic principles of each approach. In the transactional model, the leader develops a system of rewards and punishments and establishes a set of goals for employees to achieve. Thus, the foundation of this leadership is organizational and rigid, placing workers in an environment that urges them to perform more efficiently than before. The incentivization in this team is not inspirational but punitive which does not align with transformational leadership. According to my preferred model, workers who make mistakes should not be punished but communicated with to investigate the root of the obstacle and offer possible solutions for the future. A charismatic leader takes on significant responsibility for developing the vision which other members of the organization should follow. Here, the implementation of the model depends on one person, which is not characteristic of the transformational approach. Although both models can foster collaboration, the charismatic strategy places the leader above the staff, while the transformational style does not have to make this distinction.

Models’ Effectiveness

Different approaches to leadership have their own benefits and drawbacks, depending on the situation in which they are applied. If an organization needs to inspire change, leaders should aim to examine and modify the status quo, rather than follow it. Therefore, the transactional model may be ineffective in such conditions (Faraz, Yanxia, Ahmed, Estifo, & Raza, 2018). A transactional leader does not encourage the subordinates to offer new solutions, rewarding those who complete assigned tasks. Furthermore, charismatic leadership may be successful in bringing about innovation if it is promoted by the leader (Grabo et al., 2017). If the person in charge does not pay attention to a certain area, it may stay without changes for a long time. In contrast, transformational and servant leadership models inspire workers to think about new ideas and constantly evaluate their working conditions (Baškarada, Watson, & Cromarty, 2017). Therefore, change in these environments can be continuous and relevant to the needs of the organization’s stakeholders.

Leadership Styles

Personal Leadership Style

Four major styles of leadership can be described according to leaders’ behavior. These include the directive, achievement-oriented supportive, and participative approaches (Zigarmi & Roberts, 2017). My leadership style is supportive, meaning that the needs of employees are the center of my attention. Nursing is a stressful and psychologically draining profession, but workers are also skilled professionals who know their duties and scope of knowledge (Asamani, Naab, & Ofei, 2016). Therefore, they need a level of autonomy and guidance that is more focused on encouragement and support. Healthcare professionals respond positively to the supportive style of leadership because it allows them to grow as specialists while caring about their wellbeing and opinion (Asamani et al., 2016). My supportive style mixes well with the transformational leadership model since both strategies engage the staff in a collaborative decision-making process.

Action Plan

For my personal improvement, I want to improve my style to adhere to the servant leadership philosophy. Thus, a SMART goal can be targeted at developing qualities that are necessary to become a good servant leader. Community building is an essential part of collaborating, and it is a duty of a leader to bring workers together and unite them with a team spirit. My first SMART goal is to create a list of activities and meeting strategies that improve a unit’s team spirit and apply them in the next three months. My second goal is to enhance my stewardship by learning how to plan resources for the nurse team and participating in the managing process in the next month.


Models and styles of leadership determine the actions that a leader will perform to manage the team. My preferred approaches – the transformational model and supportive style – are in line with the servant leadership philosophy. By focusing on the needs of employees and encouraging team members to grow professionally, a leader can increase commitment, bring change to the organization and lead to continuous, organic, and collaborative innovation.


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