Health facilities aim at offering quality, timely, and affordable health care services; to attain this noble objective, the leadership within the organizations must be effective and responsive to societal health needs (Cleverly & Cameron 2007:12). Health facilities leaders are leaders in t either leaders in the main line of health care and supporting departments; in whichever the areas, the decisions made by the leaders determine the success of the facility.
Leaders have the role of developing operating roadmaps, developing strategies, mentoring and creating a learning environment to enhance satisfying performance from their teams (Crother-Laurin 2006). Another major role in health facilities that leaders must do is to pioneer change; of late, the medical services industry is undergoing different changes, for an effective modern medical care, then leaders have to pioneer their organization to the change. Western health care is an American health facility whose success depends with the quality of leaders it has. This paper discusses leadership in health facilities; it will use the case of Western health care.
Western health care
Western health care aims at improving the welfare of human beings through physical health and emotional well-being solutions, it aims at offering quality and affordable medical services to the Americans and other patients visiting the facility from other states in the world. The facility is situated at E. Washington at St. Colton, where it operates a 24-hour service centers for both in patients and out patients’ services (Western health care LLC Official website 2011).
Responsibilities of leaders in Western health care
An organization, whether in the medical services industry or otherwise, requires good leadership if it has to remain competitive and relevant in today’s changing business world. The quality of decisions that the leader make define the direction that the organization is going to take; leaders are the think engines in an organization, they form the strategies and policies that they want their organizations operate through. If they make poor decisions then the organization is likely to fall.
If they make informed and timely decisions then the organization they are leading is likely to be prosperous (Fred 2008:39). The structure of Western health care, divided the organization in different section/departments with certain tasks that the departments are aimed at doing, some departments that are in the main line of business in the company that is offering the health services, and they include doctors and nurses. The main leaders alongside other line leaders in this section are duty doctor leaders and nurse leaders (Lewis 2004)
There are other departments like the pharmacy; laboratory and support departments like human resources and procurements, all these departments are under section leaders. Leaders are expected to develop the operating strategy within their areas; they should do this with the consultation of other employees in the section they are heading. After coming up with the strategy they want to be implemented in their areas, the departmental heads form the teams of top leaders, they come down and discuss the strategies that they feel needs to be implemented; they do this with the chair of the chief medical officer, who is an overall leader of the facility (Hornsby & Warkeoczeski 2000)
Leaders are at different levels; despite the rank the decisions h/she makes affects the general performance of the entire organization. There are certain characteristics that a leader must possess to undertake his tasks effectively; he should ensure that he has a clear vision of the company he is leading. With power, there come responsibilities. When undertaking these tasks, he should undertake them with the highest integrity possible. The position played by a leader is a central one where he is supposed to be the role model of the team that he is leading (Huber 2006).
Leaders as decision makers
Leaders have the role of analysis the prevailing situation and coming up with the most appropriate decision in that effect. After the understanding of the problem at hand, leaders working as a team need to make decisions on the most effective path to follow in solving the problem. Decisions should be responsive to business future needs; in the medical care services, the main aim of organizations in the industry is to improve continuously the service offered, this calls for decision making in almost all spheres of the industry. The success that Western health care has been able to attain is to large extent influenced by the quality of decisions that its managers were able to make.
An efficient leader should involve his team in decision-making; leaders have the role of implementing strategies, entrepreneurial and mandated with the role of creating a winning team. Different situations and organization call for different leadership styles, thus management should ensure that they understand the kind of style that can be implemented in their organization. When team members are involved in decision-making, they get a chance to learn from each other as well as from the leadership (Margerison 2002)
Leaders have the role of creating an effective and favorable organizational culture with the facility they lead. The environment should be favorable for learning and development; the medical care services call for players to improve constantly their skills and expertise to cope with the changes in the industry, to do these leaders have to create a learning atmosphere. To have an environment favorable for learning, leaders must create a positive organizational culture that rewards success and efforts of an employee.
When employees have invented or innovated something, the management should recognize them; this will motivate them learn more and innovate others. Within teams, it is area that employees learn a lot amongst and from each other, leaders have the role of developing an orchestrate team that embraces team spirit. This will enhance knowledge and experience sharing that leads to learning of new traits and tactics by employees (Lussier & Achua 2010).
Leaders as change agents
Change within the health facility is defined in an individual team, organization and society; it involves the transitions that move the facility from a current state to a desired state; the objectives of change vary with situation thus the goals there after are determined by what the facility want to attain.
Leaders in a change management system have the mandate of managing the new strategies so that their organizations can integrate and adapt new business model in the minimum period without destructing the normal operations. Scholars are of the opinion that managing change is all about managing old habits of the people; it is a people issue which bout motivation and influencing behavior, and shaping the behavior to the desired line. Change with the medical services industry comes in the form of planned or unplanned response; planned is well thought and there are change agents who have the objectives they are willing to cover by the change, when it comes to unplanned change, the organization feels the need to transform from one operating base to another (Parker 2009).
Western health care aims at offering quality and reliable health care services, the hospital has to accept change within the organization as time goes. Adopting of new technology and development in the health care facility is the norm of today’s health care industry, scientists and physicians are coming up with better facilities that increase the service delivery quality and efficiency. The medical care facility has the role of offering accurate and fast results; some changes need to be implemented in that effect.
When a change is to be implemented at Western health care, the company’s management team is mandated with the task of pioneering a business to its desired objectives, they have the desired destination and the strategy to pioneer the change. In transitional period the leaders is the one who guides subordinates to the desired path; they jointly make rules and policies to be followed in attaining the goals. The role of the leader in this case is to oversee the performance of the roles of subordinates and give guidance in various areas; times of change are tense situations since employees are not aware of the desired outcomes and the effect that the change will have on them. They tend repelling and willing to remain in the old system that is on improvement (Meinolf, Ariane, John & Ikujiro 2003:67).
Western health care has had a number of changes in the efforts of improving the efficiency and quality of its service, the changes include computerizing some processes like the use of visa cards for payments of services. Secondly, all along since its incorporation, the company has been adopting new facilities that need to be integrated in the system using an effective change process. Change however, micro or however, it seems needed, needs to be planned, leaders cannot run away from this task.
The role of the leader in such case is the change agent; his charisma is put to test. He is supposed to guide his subordinate in a way that will inspire them and give intellectual stimulation. He will consider what is referred to as individualized consideration, where by the focus will be on making each individual in the business comfortable with the change and be able to contribute to decisions as expected (Muller, Maclean & Biggs 2009).
In the times of change, the manager should understand that there are services that need to be offered and need not to be disrupted, for example, Western health care cannot afford to close down its processes when a change is being implemented, it still should be operating and offering quality services. One of the major hindrances or supporter of change is organizational culture. A manager when pioneering a company from one wave of leadership to another should first understand the culture of the company. The use of opinion leaders is another way that a manager can use. Change is inevitable however it is one of the things that need to be planned by the concerned change agents since human being repel change; but when well developed and implemented it is adopted freely (Graetz, Rimmer, Smith & Laurence 2011).
Theories of leadership in Western health care
Different scholars have developed different leadership theories and models, however, some approaches that are more dominant within Western health care, they are:
- Behavioral theory: These theories mainly concentrate on what leaders can do but not their qualities; at Western health care, leaders are allow servicing their power and decisiveness in making decisions and are only required to discuss a situation with the top management when it is out of their control or affects an entire facility. Different behavioral patterns are categorized into different leadership styles; the facility requires the need for instant leadership in certain situations like the case of emergency (Nugent & Vitale 2004).
- Situational Leadership theory: This leadership approach states that leadership is dependent on the situation that it is being exercised in; the medical industry is venerable to situations that had not been through off and those that need prioritization. Western health care has empowered its human resource to make decisions however according to the policies of the organization with the Nobel goal of saving lives and offering quality services. Some situation requires autocratic leadership style whereas other requires participatory style. Leadership style also varies in an organization depending on the level at which it is being exercised (Finkler & McHugh 2008).
Styles of leadership
Number of leadership styles that can be implemented within organizations; they are determined by the prevailing condition that the organization is operating under. In Western health care, four leadership styles have been seen in different situations they are:
This leadership style have the manager involve his team members in making decisions from the start to the end, at this point, he is seen to facilitate the process and combines the different views offered by the employees; at Western health care, when planning duty roasters, the leadership approach adopted in democratic style. This style states that leaders will get job well done through teamwork and amicable relationship between managers. He argued that action centered leaders must be given direction, support team member and review what they are doing and be able to coordinate foster activities being done in a team. It focuses on four main factors that include, Task, team and individual (Bennet 2008: 34).
This style creates emphasis on the significance of amicable relationship between leaders and followers. It focuses on the benefits that would be accrued from a mutual contract when a leader offers something to follower while expecting rewards from loyal followers. If need be there are times that leaders at Western health care are required to consult among themselves on the right path to follow in deadlocks.
There are times that the decisiveness and power of leaders at Western health care need to be exercised without consideration of other people, this happens mostly in crisis management. When using this style however, the managers ensure they are doing it for the general good of the facility and health of the people.
Under this model, leaders at Western health care consult their staffs to get the general overview; the postulate states that situation is what creates different leadership styles thus they make decisions with minimal consideration of employees inputs.
Heroic’ concepts of leadership and contemporary leadership approaches
Traditionally, leaders were praised and worshiped incase their organization was successful, they were seen as the drivers and the think tanks of their originations. In heroic concepts of leadership, leaders are seen as dictators and the final decision makers, when they are making decisions, they have minimal regard for subordinates and the effects that their decisions would have in an organizations, they were seen as know-it-all.
In this approach, staffs were seen as followers and had minimal role in decision making other than to take orders and instructions from the boss. When there was an issue between management and a subordinate, the viewpoint of the manager was the final decision and minimal regard of what the staff had to offer. The leadership skills were autocratic with communication in one direction, top-down approach.
In contemporary leadership approaches, leaders have realized the need to involve their subordinates in decision making, they are aware that the success of an organization is largely determined by the quality and acceptability of decisions, to enhanced quality and timely decision making as well as their acceptability, managers need to involve their staffs. In these leadership approaches, the style is integrated with elements of autocracy and democracy being embraced depending with the situation at hand. Communication is an integral part of this form of leadership and neither management nor the staffs feel more competent to make decisions than the other, communication is a two-way system allowing sharing of decision among the team members.
Developing efficiency in a business is the responsibility of leaders within the organization; different situations need different leaders. Team leaders have the role of developing orchestrated teams from groups in an organization; their decisions and the way they exercise their leadership power determines the success of their organization. One major attribute that leads to success of a team is effective communication method; team leaders have the role of developing an effective communication strategy. In the medical care industry, leaders have the role of ensuring their facilities offer quality, timely, and reliable medical care services.
Bennet, J. 2008, ‘Nurse executive: If the shoes fit, wear them proudly’, Long-Term Living: For the Continuing Care Professional, vol.57, no.6, pp. 56-57.
Cleverly, W. O. & Cameron, A. E. 2007, Essentials of health care finance, Sudbury, Jones and Bartlett.
Crother-Laurin, C. 2006,’Effective Teams: A Symptom of Healthy Leadership’, The Journal for Quality and Participation, vol. 29, no.3, pp. 4-6.
Finkler, A. & McHugh, M. 2008, Budgeting concepts for nurse managers, Philadelphia, Elsevier Health Sciences.
Fred, D. 2008, Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases, New Jersey, Pearson Education.
Graetz, F., Rimmer, M.L., Smith, A.& Laurence, A. 2011, Managing Organisational Change, New York, Wiley.
Hornsby, T. & Warkeoczeski, L. 2000, New roles for leaders: A step-by-step guide to competitive advantage, Franklin, Hillsboro Press.
Huber, D. 2006, Leadership and nursing care management, Pennsylvania, Saunders Elsevier.
Lewis, P. 2004, Team-Based Project Management, Washington, Beard Books.
Lussier, R.N. & Achua, C.F.2010, Theory, Application and Skill Development, South-Westen, Cengage Learning.
Margerison, C. 2002, Team leadership, Gale, Cengage Learning.
Meinolf, D., Ariane, A., John, C. & Ikujiro, N.2003, Handbook of Organisational Learning and Knowledge, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Muller, J., Maclean, R. & Biggs, H. 2009, ‘The impact of a supportive leadership program in a policing organization from the participants’ perspective’, Work, vol. 32, no.3, pp. 69-79.
Nugent, P. M. & Vitale, B. A. 2004, Test success for beginning nursing students, Philadelphia, F. A. Davis.
Parker, G. 2009, Team Leadership: 20 Proven Tools for Success, New Jersey, Human Resource Development Press.
Western health care LLC Official website 2011, ‘Western health care’. Web.