Introduction: Leadership is the ability to guide subordinates in a direction or decision so that they can perform a task or achieve a goal that leaves them feeling empowered and accomplished. Leaders are capable of producing changes and at the same time, they inspire others to do the same. This research analysed gender-based differences and dimensions of nursing leadership styles in 18 hospitals in Andalusia, a region of southern Spain.
Methods: The sample population of the study comprised 335 subjects, who were middle managers in 18 public regional hospitals in Andalusia. The instrument used to measure different leadership styles was the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ 5X-Short form), which is composed of 45 items.
Results: The study showed that the most predominant leadership style was transactional leadership with a mean value of M = 4.22 (standard deviation [SD] = 0.42) followed by transformational leadership with a mean value of M = 3.97 (SD 0.45). Of the three styles analysed, transactional leadership had the highest statistical median for both male and female subjects. From a gender-based perspective, transformational leadership showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.01) between men and women. This was true for leadership styles as well as for the dimensions that define each style.
Conclusion: The most frequent leadership style in middle nursing management in Andalusian hospitals was transactional leadership. In regard to the three leadership styles as well as their dimensions, the female subjects obtained the highest scores. This means that from a gender-based perspective, female nursing managers had better performance levels than their male counterparts in the regional hospital system in Andalusia.