Abstract Today, in our society, especially in healthcare, the word leadership is on everyone’s mind. Finding good leaders has become one of the highest priorities in large and small organizations. But how we define leadership and what should we be looking for in a good leader will be the questions we explore in this paper. This paper is meant to be a summarized reflection of my thoughts and beliefs on leadership. It will evaluate where I stand at the beginning of this course with regard to the characteristics of leadership I possess.
It will explore some of the realities that confront leaders within the healthcare industry. It will examine some of my past experiences, personal and professional, in order to learn who I am as a leader and where I need to go to be an effective leader. key word: self awareness, leadership, realities In the 21st century when globalization and open business opportunity among countries has created an atmosphere of either flourish or perish, the necessity of dynamic and effective leadership is gaining prime importance all over the world.
Successful leaders are becoming the scarcest resource of any business enterprise. Over the past years the health care industry has evolved putting more pressure on the health care leaders of today. Success in the long run for these leaders can be insured only through effective leadership. William Shakespeare once said, “To be or not to be that is the question”. The question every inspiring leader in today’s society must ask of themselves. Leadership according to Northouse (2007, p. 3) “is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal”.
As I continue to read and research this definition of leadership it has brought me to question how does a leader influence others to achieve that common goal? Where do I stand within this leadership definition and what do I need to accomplish as I pursue my leadership desire? In order to accomplish my desire to become a good leader I must understand the characteristics I possess and those I do not. Leaders, whether good or bad influence people, maybe not in the way that the organization benefits from but influence just the same.
A good leader will have good work ethics, good communication skills, lead by example, have a desire to achieve the vision and goals of the organization, obtain trust from the organization and their team members, have a drive and desire to see a need for change and act on it when needed, and have a desire to learn from others within the team. Realities Some of the realities that face leaders today are the ever changing work environments. As technology evolves, as our workforce becomes more diverse in skills and culture we as leaders need to be adaptable and ready to make changes.
Good leaders need to continue educating themselves through any means possible and be willing to educate those on their teams. As a leader in the health care industry I agree with some current trends confronting the health care system today as seen in Exhibit 1. 1 in our text Leadership in Healthcare (Dye, 2010. p. 5) Growing number of uninsured Increased emphasis on patient safety and equality Diminished revenue sources and decreased reimbursement Uncertain implications of healthcare reform Pressures to invest in electronic record systems and other clinical/information technologies Demands to hold down costs
Closer scrutiny of pay-for-performance schemes Aging of the population and changes in worker and patient ethic/cultural demographics Higher expectations from consumers Professional shortages and decreasing recruitment pools Need for building renovation/construction and equipment purchase Rise of social media, Internet commerce, and wireless functionality Advances in Pharmaceuticals, genomics, and medical interventions Public calls for transparency and accountability, and growth of regulations Physician integration and alignment, including the employment of physicians
These trends will continue to exist unless the leaders of today and tomorrow learn to be adaptable and progress through the changes or they will be left behind. And the more the complex system is the more demands are on the leaders to perform. History As I was growing up, I never thought of my parents as leaders. On a personal level, in reality they are leaders. Whether bad or good they influence us, as their children, to accomplish goals. Abraham Lincoln once said in his Temperance Address, February 22, 1942, “When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted.
It is an old and true maxim, that a “drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall”. (leadershipnow. com) My father was (the boss) an Authoritarian leader. He had always told us what he wanted done and how he wanted it done. (Clark, 2004) I never knew this was a style of leadership as I was growing up but I did know this was not a good way to influence others. Although a leader possesses authority to accomplish goals the power does not make anyone a leader. A good leader will influence people to want to follow them “rather than simply boss them around”. (Clark, 2004). Reflection
The question whether or not a leader is born or taught is yet to be questioned. To refer to a particular individual as a “natural born leader” I believe is somewhat deceptive, however, an individual can certainly possess a number of the characteristics that are consistent with desirable leadership. Today, as I reflect on my own evaluation of my Professional and Personal Values (Dye, 2010) I have realized I do possess some of the characteristics of a good leader. For instance, I always try to lead by example. I will never ask a subordinate to do something I am not willing to do myself.
In my current position I am a Medical Office Coordinator at a physical therapy facility. I am the second in command under the director of the clinic. The previous coordinator would always have the technicians do all the cleaning and filing for her. I believe as an employee within this clinic, to achieve the goals of the clinic, I have an obligation to influence those who work within our team. Also, I have a good work ethic and always have a desire to achieve goals. According to others, that evaluated me, some common characteristics I possess are that I always have respect for my team and keep my word.
That I have a desire to learn from others and have a respect for their opinions. For example, as our team was getting ready to purge patient files and making room for new patient files we discovered we needed more room. As a common goal for the clinic we as a team came together and put in place a procedure that accomplished this goal. As the teams leader I could have just demanded a way to make more room or could have just told them to do it any way but I thought since all of the team members were working on the same goal, patient care, we all needed to work on this task together.
Room for Improvement Although I do possess characteristics of a good leader there is always room for improvement. I tend to avoid conflict. I avoid conflict in fear of disappointing someone on the team. This is also where I lack in communication skills and trust in myself to know whatever the conflict I should be able to listen and evaluate the conflict and try to solve the issue. Although, I do have good communication skills when it comes to relaying the message with regards to goals and what is expected of my team members I still feel I need to enhance my conflict resolution skills.
When I became the Medical Office Coordinator for the physical therapy clinic I knew I needed to work closely with the director of the clinic. The director was new within our clinic and she was not flexible in her schedule to accommodate the patient’s needs. At first, it was hard to deal with this and I was not able to bring this conflict to her attention in a positive way to effectively resolve the problem. As weeks went on I saw that it was affecting my desire to be there. Ultimately, the director was fired due to her lack of commitment to the clinic.
As I look back on it I realize now that maybe if I would have communicated to her the dilemma I was facing we could have come to a resolution and maybe she would still be there. There is so much more yet to learn. As I read through the Self-Reflection Questions (Dye, Garman, 2006) there is so much more to being a good leader than just leading by example and inspiring my team. I now realize I need to have a clear vision of my personal conviction, emotional intelligence, trust, a desire to achieve goals and inspiring others.