Leadership of resuscitation teams: "Lighthouse Leadership'

Resuscitation. 1999 Sep;42(1):27-45. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9572(99)00080-5.


Aim: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between leadership behaviour, team dynamics and task performance.

Methods: This was as an observational study, using video recordings of 20 resuscitation attempts. The Leadership Behaviour Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) was used to measure the level of structure built within the team. Interpersonal behaviour and the tasks of resuscitation were measured with a team dynamics and a task performance scale. The degree to which the leader actively participated, 'hands on', with the tasks of resuscitation, and their previous training in advanced life support (ALS), and experience of resuscitation attempts, were evaluated against the leadership rating.

Results: The degree to which the leader built a structure within the team was found to correlate significantly with the team dynamics (P = 0.000) and the task performance (P = 0.013). Where the leaders participated 'hands on' they were less likely to build a structured team (P = 0.005), the team were less dynamic (P = 0.028) and the tasks of resuscitation were performed less effectively (P = 0.099). Experience gained over a 1-year period did not enhance leadership performance, but leaders who had up to 3 years experience were more likely to be effective in this role (P = 0.072). Interestingly, ALS training did not enhance leadership performance per se. However those leaders who had had recent ALS training were more likely not to participate 'hands on' (P = 0.035). There were some notable shortcomings in the performance of the task and some interesting correlations relating to duration of resuscitation, survival rate estimations, the leaders' attitudes and the teams' level of experience.

Conclusion: Leaders must build a structure within a resuscitation team in order for them to perform effectively. An emergency leadership training programme is essential to enhance the performance of leaders and their teams.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / mortality
  • Clinical Competence
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Life Support Care / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Analysis
  • United Kingdom