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Leadership in Health Care

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In order   to understand fully the concept of leadership in health care it is imperative to realize the meaning of a good leader. A good leader is the one who puts away the personal ambitions that he or she has for the better good of the community and the organization taken as a whole. Therefore, he or she is able to unite and lead the workers to teamwork as they aspire to come out with the best out of the business world. So as much as the success of  business depends on the employees, it also depends on the type of leadership that is given. Consequently, true leadership means that the leader has to come out with new ways and means of ensuring that the outcomes of every decision are positive. This can be done through critical monitoring and analysis of the employees at the workplace. One other concept about leadership is that it requires constant fine tuning and this means that the employers should always be on their feet getting the best qualified leaders to do the job that they require. The concept is the same in healthcare (Oliver, 2006). Therefore, healthcare practitioners constantly need to revise the way they understand the concept of leadership and this means that they have to come out with newer and better ways of tackling the problem of conceptualizing the attributes that a true leader should posses. The meaning of a word is that the leader has evolved drastically from the normal meaning of someone whom is leading to someone who has the authority over his or her subjects but uses it appropriately. Therefore, an empowered leader is the one who is needed by an organization in order to prosper. In the modern world healthcare units, leadership is identified as a common but essential role that is needed to empower the organization and move the ideas that the practitioners have towards  better side in terms of provision of services. Thus, leadership is no longer something that the health care practitioners can do without. There are numerous styles that are usually employed in the health care system in order to attain the kind of leadership that is not oppressive but at the same time is still not reluctant. There are usually a lot of similarities in the health care environment and also differences that are yet to be discovered. However, one factor that stands out is that the new healthcare environment does not employ the same kind of leadership that was employed in the past years but in contrast, the new leadership styles are not only diverse but also they are more effective.

Nonetheless, the most common type of leadership is the open door type of one that is very common amongst the leaders of complex healthcare organizations. This type of leaders does not rely on one aspect but in contrast, the leaders are decentralized and this means that they are more participative in the issues of the organization. However, the type of leadership that is rarely seen is the autocratic leadership which has dictatorial tendencies. In the recent past, there was a new wave of revolution that has required that leaders change the way that they focus on ideologies and come out with newer ways and means of controlling their employees. So this  means that the leaders have had to reconsider the way that they carry out their duties and in overall this means a reconsideration of roles (Goodwin, 2005). Employees in the new type of leadership are unwilling to work under authoritarian rule due to the fact that they have been enlightened of their rights and the ways and means that they can change the paternalistic leadership towards being an open door leadership style. The new type of employees have  greater need than the ones of the past century and this means that they have to come out with newer ideas since they can no longer work in oppressive environments like the olden day workers. On the contrary, many contemporary organizations still operate on the same basic concepts as the ones that were used by our forefathers. Employees have started demanding the type of leaders that are not only intelligent but also thoughtful. This means that leadership has moved from a central figure to being distributive across the field. For that reason, the mismanagement of employees by their leaders in the healthcare organizations in order to achieve the goals that the organization has set forth is not  possible longer.                

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles of leaders in the organization has been considerably changing from being overseers to becoming the radical and complex people who champion the rights of their employees while they are knowledgeable and also not self centered (Barr & Dowding, 2008). The new roles that they have taken include:

  • Teaching
  • Inspiring and giving the employees’ confidence
  • Empowering the employees
  • Improving the performance through clinical supervision
  • Rewarding and recognizing individual efforts
  • Recognizing the needs for service
  • Leading and developing services through the implementation of change
  • They act as a bridge between the senior managers and workers
  • Supporting the organization with knowledge
  • Ensuring the goals of the organization are in line with the needs of the society and the government

As aforementioned, the roles of the leaders in the healthcare organization have become even more diverse than they used to be. The leaders first and foremost are viewed by the employees and the senior members who employed them as teachers. This means that they are the ones who are to supervise them and also guide the way that they carry out their duties and this should be through dialogue and not through dictatorship. It also means that they are the ones who are supposed to come out with new ideas that would greatly help the healthcare organization to move forward in terms of growth. The other role that the leader plays is to give the employees overall confidence in the work that they are doing in order to work them harder. This is indirectly some form of incentive (Shanks, 2011). Inspiring the employees is a key role in ensuring that the organization meets its goals as an organization that does not have inspired employees usually failing to succeed. In the new healthcare leadership system, the other new role is to empower the employees in order to give them an idea that they are better than other employees in other organizations. When the employees are empowered it will mean that they will want to be associated with the organization in order to ensure that they portray the image that they have been bestowed. The other role of the leader in a healthcare organization is to reward the employees who have worked diligently in order to boost their morale and also encourage other employees to join the initiative of working harder in order to become better and recognized. In order for a leader to be respected, the first and foremost duty that he or she has to carry ensuring that the services of the employee are recognized. This will later grow into appreciation and, therefore, the whole process will lead to better understanding between the employer and an employee.              


The style of leadership that a leader uses usually depends on countless number of factors. However, one factor that stands out is that the leader is the one who has the key when it comes to the matter of running the show. However, this supposition does not mean that the leader is in any way tyrannical as the modern day health workers are aware of their rights. There are different types of leadership styles in the new era organization. However, the most common one as aforementioned is the open door leader. The types of leadership are discussed below.

Open-door Leadership Style

This type of leadership style involves an open minded leader who is collegial in terms of the way that he or she runs the team. The leadership style is the most common nowadays due to various reasons and the most common reason as to why it is liked  due to the fact that it leads to common satisfaction to both the leader and the employees. The ideas that are important move freely in a team are greatly encouraged. Therefore, this leadership style is one that is liked and very important in ensuring that an organization is steady and grows positively. The leadership style also ensures that everyone in the organization is given a chance to air out the ideas that he or she has in order to better the overall idea that would come out. One of the positive aspects of this type of leadership is the fact that it provides creative groups. This means that there is the flow of ideas amongst the team members and this overly leads to positive growth. In addition to that, it creates new concepts and idea. The other positive aspect is that this type of leadership involves consulting. This is a major component that makes this leadership globally acceptable. The possibilities are widely explored before the final decision is made that would encompass all the ideas that are important (McConnell, 2011). The other positive aspect of this type of leadership is that it is very applicable to much of the service industry. This means that there are new ideas that help in the creation of a flexible environment. This in addition means that it is easily applicable since the demands of the patients are always considered. The other good aspect about this type of leadership is that it requires knowledge and, therefore, it is imperative that the leader who uses it has some basic education. This is in line with the modern way of leadership that requires knowledgeable leaders. In addition to these positives, this type of leadership is also quite effective considering some facts about it. The first factor is that this type of leadership enables open communication. This type of communication is one that is open for business and also helpful since it helps to avert situations like strikes amongst health workers due to miscommunication. The leadership style is based on the notion that everyone needs to be free and willing to contribute whenever a matter of concern is raised. From the factors being discussed, it is evident that the open door style is the kind of leadership style that is bound to be present for a long period of time. On the other hand, one factor that the leader should always keep in mind is the boundaries that it creates and this is made to ensure that the employee does not have the notion that the leader does not require respect. This is good for both the organization and the individual.                  


Authoritarian type of rule is linked to miscommunication and the unwillingness by leaders to share ideas and support unity amongst the employees. This type of leadership was considerably witnessed during the golden era but nowadays it is unheard of it in the health care system as the employees would no agree to it. The failure of a leader means that the whole health care system fails. In the past, the employees of numerous organizations did not get support from their heads and this meant that they had to involve themselves in activities that were not productive. In the healthcare system where this type of leadership was practiced, the new employees did not feel welcome and secure even if they were offered job security packages. This is obviously translated to low productivity in the job area which meant that there was an overall failure by the company vis-à-vis the health care organization (Pelote, 2007). When these types of leaders are told of the wrongs that they are doing, the best response that they give is being even more aggressive and that is why this type of leadership is not welcome in the healthcare profession. Authoritarian leadership is not widely practiced but if it were, there would be numerous oppositions across the nursing world since the workers have come to know of their rights more clearly and would not accept the oppressions that it brings forth. However, one factor that stands out is that the        

Theories of Leadership in Western Health Care

There are four major theories of leadership in western health care. The first one is the participative theory. This theory presupposes that the ideal type of leadership is one that takes  the ideas of other people into account. Therefore, this type of leadership is centered on the unity of ideas and the will by people to come together and share whatever they have for the overall benefit of the health care organization. It is widely practiced in the western healthcare institutions as the new generation of employees prefers this type of leadership to the authoritarian rule. On the other hand, it is the leader who allows the input of specific members. The other leadership hypothesis is the management theory. This type of leadership is also referred to as transactional theory and is mainly focused on supervision of the workers. The other main focus is group performance as the aforementioned theory. This theory bases the leadership on rewards or punishments. That is, if an employee works hard, he or she is rewarded and if he or she fails, he or she is punished. This type of leadership is also greatly and vastly used in the healthcare system. The third theory is the relationship theory which is also referred to as transformational theory and focuses on good connection between the healthcare leaders and the employees. Therefore, the leaders motivate and inspire their subjects as discussed earlier in this paper to come out with an overall good type of leadership. Thus, the main focus is unity for help. The other focus of this type of leadership is focus on positive performance and therefore, it is an important one at the job market and also the society on the whole (O'Grady, 2010). The members are additionally encouraged to focus on ways and means that they can fulfill their goals of excellent performance. Ethics and morals are what guide a leader of this type. The final theory of leadership style in western healthcare is the trait theory. This theory presupposes that people inherit some traits that carry the way that they perform and relate in the job area. These types of leaders assume some social class and traits that are not common amongst any type of leader and that is why they are viewed as unique ones. In overall, these theories of leadership in western health care are excellent since all of them subject to performance and unity plus universal decision making in the job area.

There is the distance between the 'heroic' concepts of leadership and the present day reality of health care

Heroic Leaders

A heroic leader is one who uses the power that he or she has in his or her position to make unilateral decisions. Consequently, this type of leadership assumes all the blame that befalls on the employees and is something that is quite obvious in history. However, the new types of leadership are defined as post heroism leaderships. With that noted, there is a great distance between the concepts of heroic leadership and the current reality. In the current reality, the type of leadership that is happening is one that encourages individual participation unlike the heroic leader who is deemed as superior and the one who makes all the decisions. The heroic leader is someone who is focused on one goal while the present day healthcare leaders even though they deal primarily with the health care system are the diverse in thoughts and actions (Benington & Hartley, 2010). A good example would be to look at the governance that was in the olden day health care institutions and the one that has been assumed in the contemporary health care institutions to note the great difference in the way the leader was revered but not respected unlike the contemporary leaders. Therefore, the two type of leadership not only have differences but also diverse ones that are born with time and ideas that the employees have on leadership. In the past, the employees preferred a leader who was authoritarian and the legal system could not assist them come out strongly unlike the current times. Sometime the heroic leader was usually defined  more of a state than a realistic version. This is because this type of leader is not easily found in the society due to the fact that he or she is the one who takes the blame of the team. It is highly unlikely that a leader like this would be effective in terms of decision making and that is why the new breed of leaders are the best as long as they do not encourage tyrannical rule. Heroism does not really help when it comes to matters of decision making due to the reasons that have be listed above. The new world order is quite different and that is why the role of the health practitioners in addition to the ideologies are changing and that is why democracy which sometimes is referred to open minded leadership is the one that contemporary leaders really use. The discussion above clearly shows the pros of being a good leader which are known to cause the success or failure of a company vis-à-vis in this case scenario of the healthcare centers. 


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