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Why is Transformational Leadership Important in Healthcare?

Transformational leadership in healthcare is a powerful tool. It empowers healthcare providers and facilitates their caregiving abilities. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities must be equipped to respond rapidly in any situation. The hospital staff must be able to handle critical situations effectively. It’s the responsibility of administrators & other leaders in healthcare facilities to prepare them.   

The leadership style followed in healthcare, can exemplify, and determine how decisions are made. It has other long-lasting effects on patient outcomes, employee engagement, retention etc. 

Read on to know more about what is transformational leadership, and how it applies in healthcare and nursing. And more importantly, learn why transformational leadership is important in healthcare.

Table of Contents

What is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational leadership is a leadership style where leaders encourage, inspire, and motivate the employees to innovate and create change to facilitate growth and shape the company’s future success. It is accomplished by setting an example at the organisational level. It can be done through strong corporate culture and employee empowerment. 

Transformational leaders utilise their charisma, personality, and compassion. They do so to engage others in realising a shared vision.  More importantly, followers are inspired to go above and beyond. They end up accomplishing more than their perceived capabilities. This leadership style is distinctly more employee-centric and results-oriented. They are intended to inspire and create positive change.

Transformational leaders recognise the importance of inspiring and motivating the workforce without micromanaging. Also, they trust qualified employees to take control over decisions in their assigned jobs. It’s a leadership style designed to give employees more space to be creative, and independent, and find new solutions to old problems.

Leadership and Management
at QLS Level 7
Acquire competence in the management procedures and build strong leadership expertise.
Leadership and Management
at QLS Level 7
Acquire competence in the management procedures and build strong leadership expertise.

What is Transformational Leadership in Healthcare?

Transformational leadership in healthcare is crucial for many purposes. In the health care setting, transformational leadership involves:

  • Envisioning a desired outcome.
  • Examining present reality.
  • Recognising opportunities for improved health care 

Transformational leadership in healthcare organisations is an interdisciplinary approach. This approach is taken to address the desired outcomes. And they identify the need for organisational change. This is based on health outcome data and input from staff, patients, and the community.  They collaborate and build relationships with them to assess overall community health needs. And this helps form a collective vision that aligns with those needs.

Instead of giving direct orders to the employees, such leaders provide them with the tools and confidence. It’s so that they can take responsibility and make decisions as needed. The goal of transformational leadership is to create an improved workplace. A place that is inspired, motivated, communicative and filled with people who take charge. A place that exhibits a strong commitment to the success of the organisation.

Why is Transformational Leadership Important in Healthcare?

Transformational leadership plays a significant role in healthcare organisations. Healthcare facilities that implement transformational leadership derive benefits in many areas. For instance, patient care and satisfaction, employee satisfaction, greater efficiency, and lower costs. They all stem from the transformational leadership style. 

Here are some other reasons why transformational leadership is important in healthcare.

These benefits of transformational leadership in healthcare are described below for further clarification.

Improved Patient Care

Transformational leadership positively affects patient outcomes. It is also related to fewer adverse occurrences and complications in patients. But improving patient safety in health care requires effective leadership at all levels.

How does transformational leadership improve patient care? 

Transformational leadership style is essential to increase patient safety. Also, it creates a sound patient safety culture within health care services.

In addition, these two things are necessary to deliver high-quality patient care: 

  • Experienced healthcare professionals 
  • Effective communication 

And transformational leadership can improve the way healthcare teams communicate. Improved communication in healthcare means fewer misunderstandings. It also achieves consistency across shifts and overall improved patient care.

Higher Employee Satisfaction

Transformational leadership increases overall job satisfaction among nurses and healthcare workers. It also enhances employee performance, trust, and commitment.

How does transformational leadership impact job satisfaction?

Transformational leaders possess abilities to increase employees’ motivation and their recognition to work. At the same time, they enhance employees’ job satisfaction. It happens through behaviours such as individual attention, intellectual stimulation etc.

When healthcare leaders empower their teams to take charge and make decisions themselves, employees feel more motivated and inspired. And they’re more likely to feel responsible for the team and organisational successes. And not merely concerned about their paycheques. If employees are trusted & management recognises their value, their overall job satisfaction increases.

Reduced Turnover

Increased employee satisfaction results in reduced turnover. The happier employees are, the less likely they are to leave their job. Because they value their job and find it gratifying. Also, it creates a sense of belonging in nurses and other healthcare staff. In addition, it establishes a strong relationship between healthcare workers and the organisation.

Caregivers or healthcare workers who have been at their place of employment for a longer period are more effective in their job. They are familiar with the work environment and established protocols. That means they need less direction, and they get along with their co-workers. That means reduced turnover is desirable on many accounts. 

Lastly, less turnover means that leaders can build efficient teams for the long term. Teams who are committed to the organisation’s success and patient care.

Employee Empowerment

Employee empowerment is indispensable for enhancing job satisfaction. Studies have shown that when the nursing staff perceives their leader as transformational, their psychological empowerment is enhanced. And this leads to having higher well-being as well as increasing their commitment to their hospitals. They have a greater sense of belonging and feel empowered to take decisions as necessary.

Empowered employees consider themselves to be more competent. And also more influential in their organisations and at their job. They also perceive themselves to have an impact on their work. In this way, empowerment motivates employees to perform at the highest level. And they exhibit a higher organisational commitment to achieving organisational goals.

Lower Costs

Many healthcare organisations prioritise ensuring quality care at the lowest possible cost. And transformational leadership can ensure that, as it has a direct impact on the bottom line. Improved quality of care reduces casualty and patient outcomes. Hence, no more or significantly less costly errors and lawsuits.

A lower turnover rate also contributes to saving money on training new employees and recruitment costs.

To summarise, a transformational leadership style positively influences nurses’ and healthcare workers’ 

  • Job satisfaction
  • Work engagement 
  • Psychosocial work environment 

And these, in turn, reduce the occurrence of adverse events in clinical practice. Moreover, embracing this leadership style can reduce burnout in healthcare workers and nurses. To some extent, it can decrease employee turnover and increase staff well-being and patient quality of care. 

Therefore, leaders in healthcare settings are highly recommended to adopt this leadership style. It’ll ensure optimal working conditions and improved results. This is essential to prevent accidents and improve overall patient safety.

ATHE Level 6 Certificate in Healthcare Management
Understand International Healthcare Policy, healthcare provisioning, and contemporary issues in health and social care
ATHE Level 6 Certificate in Healthcare Management
Understand International Healthcare Policy, healthcare provisioning, and contemporary issues in health and social care

How Can Transformational Leadership be Applied in Healthcare Settings?

Transformational leaders in healthcare organisations take an interdisciplinary approach to reach desired outcomes. And that requires collaboration with staff, patients, and the community as a whole. Most professionals would agree that the key to transformational leadership in healthcare settings is collaborative goal-setting.

Also, these leaders use various methods to inspire their staff to achieve this shared vision. First, they model the necessary change in relevant areas. Second, they mentor and support others to encourage and facilitate leadership development. Lastly, they hold themselves and others accountable to higher standards. All the while keeping everyone focused on the shared vision.

Also, transformational leadership is preventative rather than reactive. Transformational leaders should focus on the root causes of health needs and inequities. While doing so, they should involve staff, partners, and the community in their vision and actions. This can include collaborating to support community-based prevention programs. Or community health education programs or other similar initiatives. 

Transformational leaders ensure that everyone feels represented in and committed to that vision. They listen, show empathy, and incorporate input from all relevant stakeholders into their vision. All in all, transformational leaders in healthcare settings focus on relationships and collaboration to improve health outcomes. 

Transformational Leadership in Nursing

Transformational leadership can be useful in many professional fields. But it is particularly helpful in healthcare and nursing. No matter which hospital they work in, nurses always work in teams. For instance, they have to work with other nurses, doctors, technicians, or nurse assistants. This helps to provide their patients with the highest quality of care. 

Facilitating open communication and effective collaboration is essential. More so for leaders in healthcare settings, due to the nature of work. Transformational leadership in nursing ensures everyone on the team feels valued. In addition, they must understand the importance of their work. And this contributes to a work culture where all the employees are engaged and empowered. Transformational leadership helps healthcare workers think critically about their roles, and duties. Also, challenge conventions when befitting, and maintain a positive work environment.


Let’s summarise why is transformational leadership important in healthcare.

Transformational leadership style is pivotal. Especially for increasing patient safety, & creating a sound patient safety culture. Healthcare managers and administrators should strive to become transformational leaders. It’ll give the nursing and healthcare staff the confidence to make decisions. And it helps them improve patient outcomes, reduce overall costs, and boost ‘esprit de corps’. So, transformational leadership in nursing has the potential to have a significant impact on both employees and their patients.

In transformational leadership, effecting change is part of the intended result. Inspiring empathy, supportive relationships, motivation, and belief in a shared vision results in job satisfaction, improved morale, collaboration, increased productivity and further engagement with that shared vision. This fosters ongoing transformative change in overall healthcare.

Check out Leadership and Management at QLS Level 7 to learn more about leadership in organisational settings and more.

May 10, 2022

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