Leadership is an essential part of guiding and encouraging the best of a staff or facility. The characteristics of the leader can influence an organization to reach improved service goals, further financial gains, and a higher quality product (Gandez, 2006). How an individual fills the role of leader greatly affects how successful an organization will be at attaining the above listed goals (Scott, 2002). Discussion of a personal leadership philosophy will ensue. I will reference my current areas of influence, and describe how I apply my philosophy in my leadership capacity. Finally, I will address how I envision the use of informal, formal, negative, and positive power as it relates to my personal philosophy of leadership.
The role of leader in an organization should be that of a steward (Scott, 2002). They act as caretaker for an organization and help to establish the guidelines of how the facility will function on, not only an operational, but also an ethical level as well. This is done using three different categories of leadership, referred to as the humble servant, the accountability manager, and the visionary. Each category subdivides into subsets.
The humble servant is a role that a steward uses to model behavior (Scott, 2002). Customer service is a mainstay of health care, and in his or her role, the leader displays expected behaviors to, not only the clients, but also to the workers. Portrayal of the role on a consistent basis, regardless of the audience, is essential. The humble servant role is visible from day one, but as time passes, the validity of intention should become more obvious.
In the quest for improved customer satisfaction, the leader playing the role of the steward may also need to act as a cheerleader (Scott, 2002). Many jobs that need to be done in a health care organization can seem menial. Many of them are not in the lime-light, very pleasant, or exciting. Superior customer satisfaction however; requires that tasks are flawlessly performed, and with a positive attitude. A leader, who is cheering his staff through these difficult times, not only shows appreciation for the work being done, but also creates an environment that makes the tasks easier to perform. A good leader acting the role of the steward needs to be a cheerleader.
A good leader, acting the role of steward, also needs to be a supporter (Scott, 2002). Support goes beyond cheerleading, by offering assistance in the form of added human and financial resources. Times exist when a good word is not enough to complete a task and increased labor and equipment needs to be acquired to accomplish a task. A good leader, acting as the role of a steward, needs to know when and how much additional support to offer his staff.
Another role that a good leader has to fill is that of an accountability manager (Scott, 2002). Staff needs to know that the work they are completing is being assessed and valued by an organization. A good leader makes his or her staff aware that they are watched and that completed work matters to the organization. Satisfaction of the accountability role occurs by visibility and interacting with all levels of staff daily. Interacting with staff on personal and professional level aids in the delivery of the role of accountability manager.
In the process of holding staff accountable, a good leader may have to act as a challenger, challenging staff to improve work processes, quality, and speed of delivery (Scott, 2002). Health care is a field that productivity and quality are important. A good delivery processes in place permits for these criteria to be. A good leader, acting as an accountability manager, will challenge their staff to improve processes regarding quality and productivity.
At times a good leader, acting as an accountability manager must be a peacekeeper (Garman & Johnson, 2006). The constant drive to improve productivity, quality and processes can be stressful. Stress can lead to the break down of interpersonal relations of staff and clients. A good leader, acting as an accountability manager, may have to act as a peacekeeper between parties or departments if there is a breakdown. Refocusing the involved on the importance of customer service is one means of doing this.
The final role that a good leader has to fill is that of a visionary (Scott, 2002). A good leader cannot allow him or herself to become so bogged down with the day-to-day ruts of operation that he or she fail to see the larger picture for an organization. Good leaders need to have sight of where they want there organizations directed on a big picture basis. The vision in which leaders want an organization to go should be consistent. A good leader helps to guide his or her organization in the right direction.
A good leader, acting the role of visionary, has to at times be a planner (Gandez, 2006). Directing activities and people to address the challenges that can surface in health care can be an ongoing battle. A good leader, acting the role of the visionary, has to plan for challenges as they arise.
A good leader, acting the role of the visionary, on occasion must act the doer (Gandez, 2006). Times arise when situations intimidate staff. These are the moments when a leader needs to do, to act without fear, and led his or her organization into a new venture, or a new direction. On occasion good leaders, acting as visionaries, need to fulfill the duty of the doer.
I envision the use of positive power to reinforce behaviors that I wish to continue or encourage. I believe that people have an innate desire to please, and will do so on a regular basis with continued reinforcement. I will use negative power, in the form of a disciplinary process if negative behaviors continue after bringing the actions to the individual’s attention. I prefer to have a positive environment that permits for growth and development with only the required use of reprimand.
I envision my leadership role of a steward for an organization. The roles that I play as a leader vary from the humble servant, to the accountability manager, to the visionary. Each role subdivides into key characteristics that I value. Essentially, I aspire to create and nurture a positive emotional environment characterized by a compassioned empowerment, individual and personal growth, and a strong sense of self and public respect.
References Gandez, J. (May/Jun 2006). Are you a leader breeder? Ivey Business Journal Online. pp.1, 4. Garman, A.N., Johnson, M.P. (Jan/Feb 2006). Leadership competencies: An introduction. Journal of Healthcare Management. 51(1):pp13-18. Porter-O’Grady, T., Malloch, K. (2007). Quantum leadership: A resource for health care innovation (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Scott, G. (Jan/Feb 2002). The roles of the senior-level executive. Journal of Healthcare Management. 47(1); pp.9-13.