Nursing and values-based leadership: A literature review

J Nurs Manag. 2021 Jul;29(5):916-930. doi: 10.1111/jonm.13273. Epub 2021 Feb 10.


Aim: To explore literature that supports an understanding of values-based leadership in nursing.

Background: Understanding values-based leadership in nursing means understanding several leadership theories such as authentic, servant and congruent leadership.

Evaluation: Electronic databases were systematically searched to locate studies with the terms values-based, authentic, servant and congruent leadership. The literature was assessed with the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and meta-analysis approach and a thematic analysis.

Key issues: Existing evidence focuses on specific perspectives within three dominant leadership approaches under the umbrella of values-based leadership: authentic, servant and congruent leadership. Limited literature suggests that values-based leadership can support professional collaboration, enhanced trust and voice for nurses, support for staff well-being, empowerment, job satisfaction, patient-focused outcomes and quality care.

Conclusions: A dearth of empirical literature concerning values-based leadership and nursing exists. Evidence suggests that authentic, servant and congruent leadership correlate with values-based leadership theories and core nursing values.

Implications for nursing management: Nurse managers should recognize the potential benefits of a values-based leadership approach for staff well-being, enhanced professional collaboration and the nurses voice, improved insight into clinical leadership attributes and improvements in quality patient care.

Keywords: authentic leadership; congruent leadership; nursing leadership; servant leadership.; values-based leadership.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Leadership*
  • Nurse Administrators*