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Impact of leadership development on emotional health in healthcare managers


Greta G. Cummings
Faculty of Nursing
CLEAR Outcomes Research Program (Connecting Leadership Education & Research)
University of Alberta
Canada T6G 2G3


lee H., spiers J.A., yurtseven O., cummings G.G., sharlow J., bhatti A. &germann P. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management18, 1027–1039
Impact of leadership development on emotional health in healthcare managers

Aim  To examine the effects of a Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) on the emotional health and well-being among five levels of healthcare managers.

Background  Increasingly dynamic, demanding healthcare environments result in highly stressful work atmospheres.

Methods  Using quasi-experimental and mixed methods, we used regression on pre- and post-LDI survey data with 86 managers, and individual/focus group interview data for focused ethnographic analysis.

Results  An increasing trend was observed in self-assessed leadership practices after the LDI with a significant increase in ‘inspiring a shared vision’ (P < 0.01). However, a non-significant decreasing trend in areas of work life and a non-significant increase in cynicism (P = 0.14) was observed. Before the LDI, participants’ self-assessment of their practice to ‘enable others to act’ was negatively related to emotional exhaustion (P < 0.01). Both before and after the LDI, ‘modelling the way’ was significantly related to professional efficacy (P < 0.01 pre; P <0.05 post). Post-LDI, ‘inspiring a shared vision’ was negatively (P < 0.01) and ‘enabling others to act’ was positively (P < 0.05) related to cynicism.

Conclusion  The LDI provided opportunities for healthcare managers to connect, strengthen leadership and social support networks and manage burnout.

Implications for nursing management  Transformational leadership practices may influence managers’ emotional health. Senior administrative support and communicating the structure and vision of developmental initiatives may help to achieve realistic expectations.