Leadership Models and Theories in Health Care

Effective leadership is the key to the successful functioning of any organization and institution. This assumption is also valid for health care, where it is important to ensure correct management to provide quality care. Addin (2020) underlines that “the most effective leaders are leaders who can balance implementation-oriented behaviors with the personal skills required to build trust” (p. 125). Within health care, this aspect is most important since the management of employees is paramount to achieving results. In turn, management of structural aspects is also required, including “standardization of care, patient engagement, coordination of care, and care planning” (Vainieri et al., 2019, p. 309). Thus, the combination of effective communication, as well as competence in organizing the health care organization’s activities, are critical for a leader in a given setting. Effective leadership in health care provides overall organizational performance through the appropriate management of various aspects of the health care delivery process.

Regulatory professionals play a special role in the creation and implementation of effective leadership practices in health care. Ajamil (2020) notes that the main goal of the activities of regulatory professionals is to implement a culture of quality within the organization. This is possible only if a common vision is created at all levels of management, as well as strong governance defines roles and responsibilities. However, it is also important for the regulatory professional to build effective working relationships and build trust in the team (Brousseau, 2019). Leadership, in this case, is the main competence for such specialists since it allows organizing the activities of a health care organization for the most effective work.

Good leadership practice for regulatory professionals ensures not only the planning of the necessary procedures and tools but also their implementation. The paramount aspect in this regard is the management of human resources, which must share the vision of management and trust its decisions, which is possible to establish through good leadership practices. Leadership for regulatory professionals provides the decision-making process, the development of organizational strategies, and most importantly, their communication with the employees. Strong leadership skills allow you to ensure the most correct implementation of the necessary actions within the health care setting.

In terms of effective leadership strategies for regulatory professionals, communication is the most important aspect. Building trusting relationships with healthcare professionals is a critical strategy here. It is necessary to include them in the decision-making process to ensure the creation of a common vision and desire to achieve a common result. It is also important to articulate the goal of introducing certain practices, as well as to control their implementation. At this stage, as part of effective communication, it is crucial to provide employees with the opportunity to provide feedback. This would help the leader identify potential challenges and adjust the strategy. Another critical aspect for regulatory professionals is the development of the knowledge and skills of the employees. Continuous improvement of the quality of care is coupled with the best competencies of health care professionals, which is also a focus for the management of the organization.

The concept of servant leadership is now gaining momentum in organizational settings, especially in health care. This assumes showing care of employees’ and teammates’ affairs before some personal concerns. Roberts (2018) notes that the main advantage of servant leadership, which makes this model universal, is the influence of spirituality and religious foundations. In particular, this approach is based on “common elements in culture, human psychology, and interpersonal relations” (Roberts, 2018, p. 273). Mlynarczyk (2021) underlines that a servant leader is humble, leads by example, active listener example, moral and spiritual. This view links modern servant leadership to the influence of Jesus in the Bible (Mlynarczyk, 2021). Thus, this model of leadership is based on the desire of the leader to provide benefits both for the organization as a whole and for its members.

Especially servant leadership is associated with a Christian vision of the world through the concept of common grace. This principle represents the universal rules of interpersonal treatment that underlie this model. Common grace allows you to ensure harmony and peace within the team through fair treatment and attention to personal needs and values (Roberts, 2018). Overall, a servant leader must follow Jesus’ covenants and strive to strike a balance between achieving an organizational goal and serving others with care and love. Another parallel with the Christian worldview is the direct delegation of responsibility by the leader under control. This aspect is also reflected in the Christian concept of the Trinity, within which the Father God delegates the mission to Jesus, who, with the support of the Holy Spirit, achieves desired results (Roberts, 2018). Thus, authority and power are inalienable aspects of servant leadership and are expressions of love to move toward the common good.

In a professional setting, servant leadership can be applied to find the optimal balance between the needs of all stakeholders in an organization. This is particularly important when working with diverse populations where the leader needs to develop approaches to meet the needs of various groups. The professional responsibility, in this case, is to take care of the concerns of both patients and healthcare professionals. However, it is also important for the servant leader to align them with the overall goals of the organization, aligning these two components.

Formal leaders acquire authority and power by holding a certain position within the organizational hierarchy. Informal leaders, in turn, are influenced by gaining respect for coworkers because of their skill, maturity, or seniority (Lawson & Fleshman, 2020). This type of leadership creates a healthier work environment for the overall performance of the healthcare organization. Lawson et al. (2019) note that although informal leadership does not have a direct positive impact on productivity and quality of care, it does provide better job satisfaction and reduce retention. These aspects are indirect correlates of improving the quality of care through better involvement and motivation. Leaders can influence their coworkers by providing support, counseling, and developing their skills. Additionally, they can perform management functions within the team in various aspects of interpersonal relationships. All this creates more comfortable working conditions and is positively associated with the quality of health care.

Another potentially effective model within the healthcare setting is transformational leadership. This approach focuses on stimulating innovation and implementation of change within the organization. The main challenge for transformational leaders is to ensure a shared vision for all members of the organization, as well as the achievement of loyalty and commitment (Sfantou, 2017, p. 1). These aspects allow the leader to improve team morale, productivity, and job satisfaction (Sfantou, 2017; Perez, 2021). These aspects are key to better the quality of care and the overall performance of the health care organization.

The most effective aspects of transformational leadership are evidence-based practice and a focus on communication. Within the healthcare setting, these factors strike a balance between sustainable development and the ability to achieve daily goals. Specifically, the transformational leader can articulate the necessary changes for the team and work towards their implementation through trust and loyalty. It is also important that the leader ensures the continuous personal and professional development of employees, which increases job satisfaction and the quality of care. Thus, transformational leadership can be key to the long-term development of a healthcare organization.


Addin, N. T. (2020). The relationship between the leadership and organizational performance review. International Journal of Innovations in Engineering Research and Technology, 7(11), 120-128.

Ajamil, A. (2020). Regulatory leadership for a culture of quality. Regulatory Focus Article Series, 3(1), 60-66.

Brousseau, Z. (2019). Focus on: Don Boyer. Regulatory Management and Leadership Strategies, 2(3), 12-14.

Lawson, T. D., & Fleshman, J. W. (2020). Informal leadership in health care. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, 33(4), 225-227. Web.

Lawson, T. D., Tecson, K. M., Shaver, C. N., Barnes, S. A., & Kavli, S. (2019). The impact of informal leader nurses on patient satisfaction. Journal of Nursing Management, 27(1), 103-108. Web.

Mlynarczyk, M. J. (2021). What are the Biblical roots of servant leadership? In J. G. Smith & E. D. Renslow (Eds.), Blessed are those who ask the questions: What should we be asking about management, leadership, spirituality, and religion in organizations? (pp. 139-162). IAP.

Perez, J. (2021). Leadership in healthcare: Transitioning from clinical professional to healthcare leader. Journal of Healthcare Management, 66(4), 280-302. Web.

Roberts, G. F. (2018). Servant leadership across cultures. In S. Dhiman, G. E. Roberts, & Crossman, J. E. (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of workplace spirituality and fulfillment (pp. 271-299). Springer.

Sfantou, D. F., Laliotis, A., Patelarou, A. E., Sifaki- Pistolla, D., Matalliotakis, M., & Patelarou, E. (2017). Importance of leadership style towards quality of care measures in healthcare settings: A systematic review. Healthcare, 5(4), 1-17. Web.

Vainieri, M., Ferre, F., Giacomelli, G., & Nuti, S. (2019). Explaining performance in health care: How and when top management competencies make the difference. Health Care Management Review, 44(4), 306-317. Web.

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