Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the association between leadership styles of leaders of mental health treatment teams and consumers' ratings of satisfaction with the program and their quality of life.
Methods: A multifactor model has distinguished three factors relevant to leadership of mental health teams: transformational leadership, in which a leader's primary goal is to lead the team to evolving better programs; transactional leadership, in which the leader strives to maintain effective programs through feedback and reinforcement; and laissez-faire leadership, an ineffective, hands-off leadership style. Research has shown transformational leadership to be positively associated with measures of the team's functioning, but the effects of leadership style on consumers is not well known. A total of 143 leaders and 473 subordinates from 31 clinical teams rated the leadership style of the team leader. In addition, 184 consumers served by these teams rated their satisfaction with the treatment program and their quality of life.
Results: Consumers' satisfaction and quality of life were inversely associated with laissez-faire approaches to leadership and positively associated with both transformational and transactional leadership. Moreover, leaders' and subordinates' ratings of team leadership accounted for independent variance in satisfaction ratings-up to 40 percent of the total variance.
Conclusions: Leadership seems to be an important variable for understanding a team's impact on its consumers.