Nurses faced with abusive managers are more likely to quit. But a recent study by McGill University and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières researchers finds that the opposite is also true – transformational leadership – a style of management in which employees are encouraged to work towards a collective goal within a supportive milieu, is linked to nurses’ well-being, and has positive impacts upon job retention.
“With the supply of nurses in Canada in decline, we need to improve how we manage our health-care work force,” says Mélanie Lavoie-Tremblay, an Associate Professor at the Ingram School of Nursing. “Paying close attention to the leadership practices of nurse managers could go a long way in improving patient care and increasing the retention rate among our new nurses”.
Early on in her career working as a new nurse, Lavoie-Tremblay found herself “concerned” by the work environment she witnessed and experienced in the healthcare setting. She along with her colleagues took action by studying the effects of abusive and transformational leadership styles using a sample of 541 registered nurses practicing in Quebec with an average age of 26. The team devised an anonymous online survey and asked the participants to self-report on the effect of management styles.
“We found that while transformational leadership should be promoted, it is essential to spread the word that abusive leadership creates working conditions that could be detrimental to nursing practice in the profession”, says Lavoie-Tremblay, “Managers should use the results to provide training for nurse managers focusing on transformational leadership practices and the dangers of abusive leadership”.