Leadership and Influencing Practice
Leadership and Influencing Practice
Leadership is a key issue in the development of groups, organizations and nations. The study of leadership plays a crucial role in the behavioural and management sciences. It receives a lot of attention and is intensively explored. Leaders primarily work through and with other people. They also help to establish the conditions that enable others to be effective. Leadership is a function more than a role. It can both refer to the process of leading, and to those entities that do the leading. Leadership has been a central, and sometimes controversial, topic in the study of organizations. In spite of claims to the contrary, there is substantial evidence that leadership is positively related to a variety of individual and organizational outcomes. As such, this paper aims to discuss and evaluate the concept of leadership in terms of the factors that influences it in complex health and social care organizations, including the partnership that works within and outside the organization. In addition, leadership roles and strategies would also be discussed in accordance to providing effective communication between healthcare staffs.
Factors that Influence Leadership in Healthcare and Social Care Organization
The healthcare and social care teams are categorized into groups of health-care workers who have similar training. Their background would equip them to solve specific problems, such that their roles are segregated along their professional boundaries. The characteristic of this approach is that it is independent and involves limited inter-professional communication, rather than a collaborative goal setting. An interdisciplinary healthcare team is composed of healthcare workers from different professions who assume roles and carry out responsibilities that share common goals for the client. Roles overlap and are flexible over time (1994). The very survival of healthcare and social care institutions depends on the healthcare’s ability to apply their knowledge as professionals, being physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, nutritionists, and social workers, together into effective cross-disciplinary teams (1999). The goal in healthcare and social care businesses is to produce much higher quality at lower costs through integrated, collaborative work. Interdisciplinary team members understand the education backgrounds of one another, know each other’s areas of expertise, and are aware of the roles assumed by each profession ( 1994). However, despite recognition of individual differences and expertise, healthcare and social care workers or staffs must still be able to governed, most especially in terms of times of conflict or drastic changes in policies or approach in terms of healthcare. In this regard, the concept of leadership becomes relevant and applicative.
A number of factors affect or influence healthcare and social care organizations. These factors play in important role, as they determine the response of healthcare and social care workers in relation to their profession and clients. The primary factor that influences healthcare and social care institutions is the environment of healthcare and social care workers or teams that involve the social structure and the physical setting of an organization. It can be perceived that with an organized and effective environment, a more effective leadership can be achieved. This is in accordance to the relationship of the physical working environment to the performance of staffs, because the more conducive the working environment, the more motivation staffs develop. However, if the physical working condition of staffs is disorganized and untidy, then it follows also that their performance of their work would not be as outstanding. Another factor that influences healthcare and social care organizations is its organizational structure. Such includes the ratio of male to female staffs and the age of members. These entirely affect the leadership that is being developed in the organization for difference in age or gender may influence the relationship and communication that exist between staffs. A specific study found out that many organizations stereotype leadership as a masculine function, thus, people will not readily accept a woman in the higher status leadership position unless information regarding her competence is brought to their attention (2002). As such, leadership would be effective depending on the person who would take the responsibility to be a leader. The third factor to consider is the situation itself, which refers to the tasks that require the attention of healthcare and social care staffs. It has been reported that situations that call for leadership have qualities of simplicity, complexity, normality and abnormality, straightforwardness and ambiguity, and high and low stress, for these qualities dictate the approach to be adopted and used by healthcare and social care staffs (2000). In this regard, leadership is entirely influenced by the situations or tasks of staffs as this influences the behavior, approach, values, and strategy that must be done, in order to provide relevant and substantial solutions to problems or actions to responsibilities.
Another factor to consider includes the members that comprise the team. This is important to take note of the perception, attitude, and behavior of team members influence the effectiveness of leadership. Their perception and attitudes toward a specific leader affect leadership, as these traits develop respect and communication between staffs. In relation to this factor is the fifth one to consider, which refers to the partnerships and relationships that exist among healthcare and social care workers. As mentioned, the perceptions, values, and behavior of staffs determine the effectiveness of leadership. In this regard, the relationships and partnerships that are built among staffs also play an important role in relation to effective leadership. With this, the peer networks of staffs and the team building they must achieve must be given emphasis. In addition, the sixth factor the influences leadership includes the changes that take place in the organization, and include mergers, downsizing, and the policies or regulations implemented (2005). In this regard, the changes that the organization undergoes dictate how leadership would be used, depending on the impact of the change to staffs and to the organization itself. In times that drastic changes must be observed in the organization, drastic measures, including changes in leadership styles must be implemented. This is to help the staffs and the organization itself to cope with the changes or the organization. The seventh factor to consider involves the relationship that clients or the patients build with staffs of the healthcare and social care organization, which fuel or drive the mission of organizations. For leadership to become effective, the staffs must be able to develop effective communication and relationship with patients or clients in order to efficiently address their needs. In this regard, if staffs were able to know what they require then they would be able to effectively develop an approach that would include the active participation of healthcare and social care workers. Thus, building effective communication and relationships with patients and clients provide information and knowledge on the part of staffs, which enable them to develop means, including effective leadership. The last factor to consider is one of the most important factors that influence leadership, which is motivation on the part of the healthcare and social care workers. Motivation of staffs involves a number of factors that encompasses their personal life, working conditions, benefits and compensation, satisfaction, and fulfillment in the job. Motivation of healthcare and social care staffs affects leadership in organizations, as it determines the attitude and behavior staffs toward their work and their clients. If the organization provides good motivation to staffs then it follows that they would be able to respond effectively to leadership, thus, providing success and unity in the organization.
Factors Influencing Partnerships Within and Outside the Organization
(2006) reports of six types of partnerships that exist inside and outside organizations, namely, partnership with direct reports, partnership with co-workers or colleagues, partnership with managers or leaders, partnership with customers, partnership with suppliers, and partnership with competitors. In analysis, partnership with direct reports refers to direct relationships with organizations, such that employees do not regard themselves as employees but partners of the organization. This enables organizations to derive productivity and loyalty from staffs, as they perceive themselves to be contributory to the performance of the organization, thus, making leadership more successful. Partnership with co-workers or colleagues refers to the effective relationships a staff builds with other staffs in the healthcare and social care organization. Having healthy relationships or partnerships with colleagues foster effective leadership, as effective partnerships involve building effective communication that is a key to successful leadership. Partnership with managers or leaders involves the development of the skills and knowledge of the leader in relation to the minute and general details concerning the organization. This involves the responsibility of the leaders, such as their expertise in addressing conflicts and problems that may come their way. Moreover, partnerships with customers is one of the outside partnerships that exist in healthcare and social care organizations, and this must be effective in order to bring success to the staffs and to the organization itself. Partnerships with suppliers must also be developed and given emphasis, as this provides the organizations with their needs in order to meet the demands of their clients. The last type of partnership refers to partnerships with competitors, as this can provide the organization with valuable and relevant information and knowledge that it could use for its development. In addition, competitors can become the future clients of the organization, thus, good communication and relationship must be built with them.
From this, it can be understood that several types of partnerships exist inside and outside the healthcare and social care institutions, and thus, must be effectively and efficiently maintained in order to provide quality and good services to clients. In this regard, several factors that affect these six types of partnerships can be determined.
- Position and Reputation – One of the motivating factors that affect alliance or partnerships is the position or the reputation of a leader, or in wider scope, the organization. In theory, the greater number of alliances, the better the organization’s or the person’s reputation (2002), and thus, becomes relevant in assessing the reputation of a leader.
- Shared Vision – (2007) pointed out that the development and refinement of a shared vision toward a task or work is the key to the success of any partnership. In the healthcare and social care setting, the staffs must have a common goal, and that must involve the prioritization of the needs of its clients, in line with the policies of the health and social institution.
- Organizational Culture – Organizational culture often reflects the personality of its leaders ( 1998), as this refers to the attitude, beliefs, and behavior of the whole organization or group of individuals that dictate their response or action towards specific situations. The most successful partnerships recognize and value their differences and find ways to integrate them into a workable overarching partnership culture ( 2007).
- Focus on Needs – The decision to establish partnerships should begin with the belief that important needs can be best fulfilled through those partnerships, thus, it is necessary first to determine the specific partnership that is the best way to accomplish an important task, then find a partner or partners who might be the best to help (2007).
- Agreements or Policies – Partnerships can be influenced or affected by the existing policies or agreements, which may limit the extent of that specific partnership to grow and develop. On the other hand, existing policies and agreements reinforce and bind partnerships, thus, providing opportunities for staffs to focus on their goals in the organization.
- Resources – Successful partnerships develop multiple and steady sources of support, including human and financial resources ( 2007). In this regard, proper allocation and control of such resources must be done in order to foster effective partnerships.
- Trust – Partnerships require a high level of trust, as this enables collaboration and contribution ( 2002). In this regard, the reputation of staffs or the organization itself is being built through the trust one provides, and in this sense, strengthens and establishes the mission of the healthcare and social organization. Being crucial in the industry, healthcare and social institutions must be able to build trust with many individuals, as lives are being depended upon their abilities and skills.
- Communication – As stated earlier, communication is one of the key factors in effective and successful leadership. However, good communication is also a key factor that affects partnerships in all organizations, most especially in healthcare and social institutions. Without effective and good communication, healthcare and social care workers would not be able to efficiently provide services to clients, thus, customer service would not be deemed possible. Good and effective communication through a variety of means, and in this generation, verbal and non-verbal communication is not only used, but technology and the Internet is also utilized to send and receive messages and information.
Leadership Roles and Strategies: Bringing about Effective Communication
The cardiac cath lab Jim Shahi unit and the cardiac care unit of the Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation encountered a change in their approach in patient care after the change in policy. As stated in the previous discussions, the changes that take place in the organization serve to influence the operations and the leadership in the organization, thus, somehow becomes the causes of conflict or problems in healthcare and social care institutions. With this, new leadership skills are needed to overcome this dilemma, such that the change in situation and approach of the concerned healthcare workers due to the change in policy calls for effective communication that would express a common vision and would persuade others to work toward a common goal (1998).
(2005) reports of five specific roles of leaders. Primarily, it is to understand and interpret the environment in which the enterprise operates. Understanding the interpreting the environment must be taken note of in effective leadership to improve the patient’s care, treatment and experience (Addicott and Atun, 2003). This role must be taken first by the leader to effectively assess the approach appropriate for the environment or the situation. Second leadership role is to develop winning strategies, where in this case involves the use of a new type of leadership, that is, transformational leadership. The essence of transformational leadership is to produce organizational change through its emphasis on new values, and a vision of the future, which transcends the status quo ( 2001). A variety of strategies is being used by leaders in healthcare and social care organizations, depending on the situation and environment. The third leadership role is to execute the winning strategies brilliantly and effectively, and this can be done by taking note of important elements in its execution, including the strategy’s alignment to the organization’s overall mission, vision and objectives, the concept of performance management, and the visualization of its effects. In relation to this (2002) claimed that leaders have the ability to view the future. They are equipped with compelling abilities to visualize where things will naturally end or lead to. The fourth leadership role is to monitor the results and make strategic adjustments. A good leader must be able to effectively and efficiently assess and evaluate the used strategies and make adjustments based on its effects on the system. In the healthcare and social care institutions, this must be given attention because the system involves the proper care for patients, and their lives are at risk. Last leadership role is building organizational capabilities, which involves the goal of an effective leader to develop and to improve the skills and knowledge of its followers. Implementation of the teams’ shared; mutually agreed-upon goals during treatments often yield results greater than could be accomplished by separate profession-specific approaches (1993). With this, it can be perceived that building organizational capabilities involves developing teamwork and cooperation among the team members of the healthcare and social care institutions.
Such roles would not be useful without the implementation of strategies that the leaders can use in order to build effective leadership and communication among the organization. In relation to the change of approach and policy in the Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation, it has been mentioned that the transformational type of leadership must be used. The change in the type of leadership is one good strategy of healthcare and social organizations to be able to cope with such changes. In addition, in relation to the type of leadership to adopt, (2000) suggests that leaders who achieve the best results do not rely on a single leadership style, but use a number of styles depending upon the situation. He emphasized six types of leadership, namely, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, coaching, pacesetting, and coercive. Each leadership style has its advantages and proper application in certain situations and its implementation greatly affects the flexibility, responsibility, clarity, commitment, and performance of the employees. In discussion, the Coercive Leadership style demands compliance from the team, but is most effective if used to change the immediate direction of an organization or in time of crisis when decisive action is needed. The Authoritative Leadership style motivates and mobilizes staff toward shared vision and states the goal, but generally gives the team plenty of leeway to devise own means. The Affiliative Leadership style shows empathy towards people and their emotions, builds team harmony, improves communication, repair broken trust, and boosts morale, but can also harm the climate of the team if not used with other leadership styles. The Democratic Leadership style gives importance to consensus, but in having endless meetings, making a decision can be prolonged in providing solutions. The Coaching Leadership style understands strengths and weaknesses of the team and helps tie them into personal and teaching goals for future development, but its drawback could be the employees’ resistance to learning or the leader’s lack of expertise. The last leadership style is the Pacesetting Leadership, where the leader is fanatical about extremely high performance level at all times, and leads the team through his or her performance. The leader also prefers the line work to managing, which harms the team’s climate as the employees feel overwhelmed by the demand for excellence. A good leader can integrate these types of leadership in order to facilitate good communication and teamwork in the organization.
Another leadership strategy that can be utilized as a solution to this situation is the use of Information Technology that can produce benefits in clinical care and associated administrative functions. It has been reported that health care and social care organizations found out that electronic medical records or EMR improved the delivery of care because more complete medical documentation was available to support the diagnosis of healthcare professionals. The use of Information Technology also resulted to cost savings due to the reductions in costs associated with medication errors, communication, and documentation of clinical care and test results, staffing and paper storage, and information processing ( 2004). As such, good leadership must be applied and used because it would be involved the education and training of healthcare and social care staffs who would be exposed to using new Information Technology. In relation to this is the use of leadership in providing additional trainings and seminars for healthcare and social care workers. In this regard, the workers would be briefed effectively, thus, facilitating communication between the cardiac care unit and the cardiac cath lab unit. Proper and effective communication between the two units can be facilitated and achieved with the guidance and leadership of team leaders.
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