Leadership for Conflict Management in Nursing

Interpersonal conflicts can occur in every workplace, and nursery practice with the abundance of highly stressful situations happening daily is not an exception. The necessity for people with different specialties to work in conjunction in those tense circumstances can exacerbate the situation. The disputes caused by the hierarchical structure of medical facilities can also occur (McKibben, 2017, p. 100). Nurses claim that they have disagreements with other health professionals (Lahana et al., 2019, p.1). While interpersonal conflicts are now increasingly often seen as productive, they still can disrupt the work of healthcare institutions endangering, among other things, patients health. Therefore, conflict management strategies should be studied and applied.

It is important to investigate which type of leadership seems to be particularly relevant for managing conflicts in nursing. Though there are studies dedicated to exploring the best conflict management strategies and practices of teaching students how to deal with disputes, it seems useful to put a particular emphasis on the role of a leader in such circumstances. Developing the right approach to conflicts occurring in nursing practice is highly important for creating comfortable workplaces where everyone feels respected. Only in such an environment, productive work, and successful healing can develop. Suggesting the most effective leadership type for managing conflicts in nursing practice can be useful for the current healthcare professionals and individuals who aspire to become ones. Students, in particular, can benefit from understanding which style of communication a leader should employ while trying to create a workplace where conflicts rarely occur and, when occurring – efficiently solved.

Several leadership types can be applied in nursing. They include servant, transformational, and authoritarian (autocratic) leadership (Huber, 2017). Though to some individuals, it might intuitively seem that autocratic leadership can work better since it allows to resolve conflicts by making authoritative decisions, such methods can also lead to more tension being slowly accumulated. Transformational leadership may require charisma, which not every person can possess, while servant leadership practices can be applied more widely. Servant leadership implies that a leader puts serving others before being a leader (Huber, 2017, p. 15). Hence, they concentrate on being attentive to other peoples needs and work on creating working conditions where they can be met (Huber, 2017, p. 15). While authoritarian leadership can assist in curbing conflicts in a short-term perspective, servant leadership strategies may prevent some conflicts from occurring in the first place.

To examine which type of leadership can be considered more effective in conflict management in nursing practice, it seems relevant to start with researching which types of conflicts are more often seen in this sphere. The existing conflict resolution methods and their short-term and long-term effects need to be examined. This can be done by conducting a meta-analysis of the existing research dedicated to conflict situations in nursing practice. Furthermore, it might be highly useful to conduct surveys among nurses to determine the kinds of conflicts they face more often in their workplaces and how they tend to react to them. For this research, it also seems important to ask how senior staff approaches these kinds of situations.

Then, based on the information acquired, the researcher will highlight the strategies which are suggested to be the most effective in dealing with interpersonal conflicts in healthcare facilities, particularly in nursing practice. These strategies should be examined and linked to particular leadership types to determine which one can be the most efficient. It might also be important to identify whether different kinds of conflicts require different solutions, and, therefore, different types of leadership. The results of the study may indicate that while one leadership style can be applied more often, some flexibility is still needed.


Huber, D. (2017). Leadership and nursing care management-e-book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Lahana, E., Tsaras, K., Kalaitzidou, A., Galanis, P., Kaitelidou, D., & Sarafis, P. (2019). Conflicts management in public sector nursing. International Journal of Healthcare Management, 12(1), 33-39.

McKibben, L. (2017). Conflict management: Importance and implications. British Journal of Nursing, 26, 100-103.

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