When the Postive Attributes of Leadership Become Harmful: A Pre Post-Test Analysis

Friday, 25 July 2014: 4:10 PM

Joyce M. Hendricks, PhD, MNS, BA (AppSc, Nsg) GradDipEd, BA (SocSc) RN, RM
School of Nursing & Midwifery, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Austria
Vicki Cope, PhD, RN, RM
School of nursing & Midwifery, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia
Gilly Smith, DBA, RN, JP
School of Nursing & Midwifery, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia

Purpose: Nursing leadership in the academic setting and how leadership attributes may align with and differ from transformational, servant, and charismatic leadership theories are considered to form the basis of “good” leadership. The purpose of this presentation is to examine and raise awareness of how the concepts and examples of leadership within theoretical constructs have the potential to produce an image of how the positive attribute of leadership may be used in a harmful way.

Methods: Mixed methods was used to examine the role of leaders in the academic setting in creating a positive context and work experience for followers. Data was collected using pre post-test analysis; and, followers were asked to provide qualitative reasons for their answers and to give their solutions to problems. A focus group was convened to validate the finding at post-test.

Results: Data   at post-test indicated a negative trend suggesting that the perceptions of follower of their leaders had not improved from time of pre-test.  Qualitative analysis revealed the themes of nepotism, favouritism, information provision to favouritism and lack of consultation to be the main ways of leadership control and follower focus.


Harmful leadership  results when positive leadership strategies are combined with the potential of leaders to pursue personal agendas, including pursuing and abusing power, developing a sense of self-importance, using fear, and creating a sense of isolation through alienation.