Aim: The aim was to explore nursing leadership regarding what nurse managers and subordinates see as important and to explore subordinates' opinions of their nurse manager's performance in reality. Background The manager's style can be fundamental for subordinates' acceptance of change and in motivating them to achieve stated visions and goals and high quality of care.
Methods: Nurse managers (n=77) and 10 of each included nurse manager's subordinates received a questionnaire to assess 'preferred' leadership behaviour in three dimensions: change, production and employee/relation orientations. The same questionnaire was used to assess subordinates' opinions of their manager's leadership behaviour.
Results: There are statistically significant differences in opinions of preferred leadership between managers and subordinates, especially related to production and relation orientation. The subordinates' perception of real leadership behaviour has lower mean values than their preferred leadership behaviour in all three dimensions.
Conclusions: Subordinates prefer managers with more clearly expressed leadership behaviour than managers themselves prefer and demonstrate.