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Leaders are critical in shaping organisational culture. 

How can leaders ensure that the workplace supports high quality, safe and compassionate health care? How are leadership behaviours, strategies and qualities developed? The King's Fund review provides an insight into how leadership works. The leadership task is to ensure direction, alignment and commitment within teams and organisations.

Nurses prefer managers who are participative, facilitative and emotionally intelligent. Leadership styles contribute to team cohesion, lower stress, and higher empowerment and self-efficacy. Leadership is a predictor of quality outcomes in health care settings. Authentic leaders offer good role models consistent with values and vision for health care. They offer individualised consideration of staff, provide motivation and stimulate of creativity and innovation.

Collective leadership is a more recent area of interest. It reflects the assumption that acts of leadership should come from anybody, not only those in formal positions of authority. Finally there has been much investment in leadership programmes. But the evidence base for leadership interventions remains unclear.


King's Fund (2015) Leadership and leadership development in health care. The evidence base

RCN support

Executive Nurse Network. The Executive Nurse Network is a support network of senior nurses. This network is for Directors of Nursing, Deputies or Assistants who may or may not have board level responsibility. The network is also on Twitter: @rcnenn  

Clinical and Political leadership programmes. Quality leadership is vital to your organisation and to patient safety. Utilising our knowledge and expertise, RCN’s leadership programmes will cultivate leadership skills and shape participants as future leaders.

Nurses in Management and Leadership Forum. These pages will keep you up to date with what is going on in health and social care by bringing you news and links to keep you abreast of developments in the RCN and the UK. Most importantly they allow you to share your experiences and developments directly with other RCN members.

RCN Principles of Nursing Practice. The Principles describe what everyone can expect from nursing practice, whether colleagues, patients, their families or carers and provide a framework for care and quality improvement. This resource introduces the Principles and describes how they relate to other publications about the quality of nursing care. Principle H encompasses themes of leadership contributing to an open and responsive culture.

Looking for articles and books on this topic?

The RCN Library and Heritage services provides books, e-books and e-journals on this topic.

Page last updated - 17/04/2022