Development of Leadership Skills in Health and Social Care

Development of Leadership Skills in Health and Social Care

Abstract

Quality leadership is one of the crucial elements of a successful workplace or organization. The kind of leadership exhibited in a health facility for instance, depicts the kind of services the health workers offer their patients. It is very important for health facilities to assess their leaders and ensure that they will be able to work towards the organization’s goals. The leadership must try to ensure that it does not command respect from the rest of the employees, rather earn it. In doing so, the leadership will foster a quality environment for service provision and development.

This paper seeks to assess at how leadership influences the quality of health and social care in institutions. It categorizes health and social care as one entity given that they both focus on the wellness of people and society as a whole.  While healthcare focusses on the health of people, social care tries to ensure societies live in harmony and ensure people have the required facilities to lead normal lives.

The paper will further elaborate the applications of leadership to both social and personal practice. To ensure quality leadership, the paper will help outline strategies for self-development in relation to quality leadership. At the end, it will critically analyze different leadership practices and point out the factors that foster poor leadership. Lastly, it will give recommendations on how leaders ought to relate to their juniors, particularly focusing on health and social care.

 

Introduction

Leadership refers to the type organization fostered in a corporation to help motivate people work towards achieving a common goal. Usually, there are people in charge of the activities and the rest of the crew (Savage, Gaynor and Adler-Milstein, 2019, p. 594). These individuals oversee all activities carried out within the organization and ensure that the activities are completed on time and with the right precision. Woods and Costanzo (2016, p.252) attest that the health and social care industry are among the industries that requires utter care and safety, consequently critical leadership. Medical practitioners are trained on carrying out procedures with high quality and ensure the wellness of their patients (Wagner, 2018). Due to the high levels of care, health and social care require high and professional leadership skills. In fact, these are among the major industries which focus on teaching leadership skills to the practitioners. Such precautionary measures set are to ensure that the leaders know how to handle other practitioners while caring for their patients as well.

Although people believe that leadership is an in-born idea, Constandt, Parent and Willem 2019) believe that it must be properly fostered to ensure a professional leader who understands the different aspects of the given activity. In health and social care for instance, leaders require ample training to ensure that they understand how to co-ordinate the procedures as well as the health and social workers. According to Grant et al. (2017), the management of these facilities must comprise of people who have familiarized themselves with the procedures over time to ensure that they can handle whatever is brought on their plate. Hardly would a facility make a junior staff become a leader as they require ample training of both procedures and leadership skills. It follows suit that for one to become a leader, they must have rigorous training to familiarize themselves with management and coordination.

The carefully crafted leadership structure in health facilities ensures that the facilities will be able to deliver the best services to their patients without jesting with their lives. Backman et al. (2017, p.566) state that health facilities are advised to carefully craft their leadership structures to ensure that the medical practitioners may get the required assistance when in need, thus allow them to deliver high quality services. Lundgren et al. (2019, p.2333721419841245) attest that the kind of leadership exhibited in a health facility will also entice patients in receiving health care services from particular medical facilities. When the structure of leadership is accurate and functional, medical practitioners will be able to translate the same kind of treatment to their patients. A dysfunctional leadership will turn off patients from receiving services from such a facility as it will be notable through the activities of the staff members (Hentrich et al. 2017, p.34). Such facilities will consequently fail due to the inability to coordinate people and deliver services timely.

Each health facility has a different type of leadership depending on the kind of services they offer and the size of the facility. However, one common aspect of leadership in medical facilities is the presence of the hospital’s director (Mustafa et al. 2019, p.81). Directors are not only leaders, but medical practitioners as well. Since their primary function is to oversee long-term care in the facility and ensure smooth operation, they must have ample medical knowledge. Another crucial leadership post in health facilities is the board of directors (Gulati et al. 2019). The facility’s director must be a member in this board. However, the board comprises of both medics and non-medics. Their function is to ensure all operations, both medical and non-medical function well thus allowing the facility to attain its target goals. Other leadership posts vary depending on the type and function of facility.

The paper will try to assess the kind and role of leadership in different health and social institutions. It will also focus on importance of a well-laid out leadership plan. It will discuss these aspect under four main ideas:

  1. Role and Impact of Leadership within current Health and Social Care
  2. Application of Leadership Theory to Personal Leadership Practice
  3. Strategies for the Development of Self and Others
  4. Critical Reflection on the Leadership Practice
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Role and Impact of Leadership within current Health and Social Care

Leadership plays a crucial role in the development of any organization. The structure of leadership in any setting will determine the type of service delivered by the staff members. Regardless of their training, the staff members must observe the rules and regulations set by the leadership to allow them act accordingly and ensure the success of the goals of the organization (Fernandez, 2017, p.35). Therefore, before assessing the kind of service delivery, it is crucial to critically analyze the structure of leadership and align it to the goals of the organization. Notably, if the leadership does not agree with the goals and vision of the facility, the organization is likely to deviate from its goals, consequently fail. This section seeks to analyze how the leadership in health facilities affects the service delivery. The information provided will be supported by relevant literature of credible sources.

Role of Leadership in Health and Social Care

Inspire trust among other medical practitioners

A competent leader needs to develop the ability to inspire fellow health workers to progress in their careers. Backman et al. (2016, p.768) consider health as a constantly developing field which requires upgrade from time to time. Also, the more a person advances in their education, the likely they are to get better working positions. As a leader, one should encourage fellow medical practitioners to develop their careers consequently advance in their careers. Fernandez (2017, p.35) believes that leaders in health and social care should assign considerable working hours to the other medical practitioners to allow them room for learning and development. Such an act ensures development in health and social care as well as create room for new practitioners to join in the industry. Additionally, it ensures consequent growth of health and social workers.

Also, a good leader should try to encourage fellow health and social workers into pursuing their dreams regardless of the challenges they encounter in their field. Just like any other field, Crocker et al. (2017, p.522) attest that health and social care workers face a lot of challenges which may discourage them from performing their duties accordingly. Jack, Hamshire and Chambers (2017, p.47) believe that every leader must have undergone similar challenges before acquiring the current leadership positions. Therefore, as good leaders, they need to encourage fellow officers and guide them accordingly considering they have undergone similar situations. When a leader fails to advice fellow medical practitioners accordingly, Smith (2018) believes that the leader has failed their duties. Therefore, to avoid such issues, leaders must consider the working hours of their team members and allow them room for development.

Coordinating work and shifts in the respective departments

One of the crucial roles of leaders is to ensure that their departments have well-elaborated shifts for the available workers. While assessing the shifts, the leader must ensure that all assigned workers have qualified for the respective duties as they have ample knowledge as well. Savage et al. (2019, p.19011379) advice leaders to always ensure fair distribution of shifts according to skill and specialization. In case of any challenge, the leader should report such a case to the overall management of the facility. This will help restructure the entire facility and ensure equal distribution of workers in every department. According to Rinfret et al. (2018, p.6), random distribution of shifts is a recipe for disaster and ultimate failure of the organization. When health and social workers are assigned duties they are not qualified for, they will derail the organization from attaining its goals. Such an action depicts that the leadership is unable to analyze the skills of its people and ensure duty distribution accordingly hence considered a failed leadership.

While the leader coordinates the shifts, he should also try to partake in duties as this helps motivate the workers to performing their duties willfully. According to Bradd, Travaglia and Hayen (2017, p.17), a leader who leaves all duties to the staff member has a high possibility of having a failed department as the staff members have nothing to emulate. Rinfret et al. (2018, p.4) speculate that such a leader will either fosters a lazy environment or harsh environment. Regardless, the staff members will be unable to provide quality services to their clients.

Execute Strategic Plans of the Organization

Before assuming any leadership position, one must familiarize themselves with the goals and visions of the organization. Abood and Thabet (2017, p.73) state that good leader must be able to guide fellow practitioners into performing duties that promote the goal achievement of the institution. Although all health and social facilities provide almost similar services, Sadler et al. (2018, p.254) elaborate that they all have different goals and visions. The goals and visions of any facility depend on the purpose which the founder created the institution to serve. Since all these facilities were created by different people, they will consequently have different goals. Therefore, before assuming any position, a leader must understand these goals so as to know how to steer the facility.

Once a leader understands the goals and visions of the facility, they need to work towards them and ensure they achieve each of them stepwise. One way to ensure that the leader tries to achieve the goals is to rearrange the workers in a way that will favor them to work towards these goals. To do so, Abood and Thabet (2017, p.77) advise that leaders assess the capabilities and knowledge of all their staff members. Using such data, it will be possible to assign accurate positions to these individuals.

Creating Vision for the Workers

A good leader must clearly understand the goals and visions of the facility and department as stated above. After doing so, Bligh, Kohles and Yan (2018, p.122) believe that it is the responsibility of the leader to design their visions which align to the goals of the institution. These visions will rely on the number of staff members working under the leader, the number of clients served on a daily basis, the availability of funds and resources, and the powers of the leader invested by the organization. Igalla, Edelenbos and van Meerkerk (2019, p.22) caution that a leader cannot create visions which go beyond his scope of leadership. Therefore, a leader must clearly assess their powers to avoid causing conflict within the organization.

The essence of creating their own vision is to allow them execute the goals of the organization timely or even faster. Also, this allows proper organization and creates a suitable work environment. The workers are generally encouraged to execute the assigned duties with minimal supervision (Sadler et al. 2018, p.259). Also, such a vision ensure flexibility as it is adjusted in accordance to the current situation of the department. ) Igalla, Edelenbos and van Meerkerk (2019, p.22) advise that leaders consider the preferences of their teams while creating the visions rather that their personal interests. Such an action helps the team members feel involved thus gain motivation to perform their respective duties.

Impact of Leadership in Health and Social Care

Although leadership seeks to promote development, it could either create a positive or negative impact on the organization. Therefore, it is important to critically assess the leaders prior to assigning them duties. Bligh, Kohles and Yan (2018, p.131) advise that in crucial cases, the leaders must have previous roles in other reputable organizations. Otherwise, the leader ought to have a good track record whether as a leader or worker. Edmonson et al. (2017, p.22) believe that a reputable track record is a key to a good and reliable leader. While vetting someone for a leadership position, one not only need to focus on their health and social care knowledge, but also their leadership skills. Additional knowledge on leadership through certification or any other evidence of the same is an additional advantage to the organization.

Positive Impacts of a Leadership

Positive leadership has a high possibility of trickling down to employees and consequently services receivers. Once leaders foster a good environment in the health and social care facilities, the workers will automatically feel the need to do the same to the same to their clients. Ruben and Gigliotti (2017, p.16) attest that when employees are nurtured appropriately, they will be able to handle their patients with utter care. Regardless of one’s age or knowledge, Shapiro and Stefkovich (2016) emphasizes on the fact that behaviors are infectious and can easily be translated to other people subconsciously. It is only reasonable to for management to nurture the health and social workers properly if they are to offer top-notch services to their clients.

Positive leadership reinforces morale of the health and social workers ensuring that they offer quality services. Tenuto and Gardiner (2018, p.597) advise leaders to ensure that they have positive reinforcement to their teams to ensure that activities are handles to completion. Notably, health and social care facilities which operate on dictatorial basis are likely to provide poor services as the workers feel suffocated at their place of work. Regular motivation that is free from dictatorship ensures that the workers have sufficient psyche to work towards the institution’s objectives (Ruben and Gigliotti, 2017, p.20). As such, it is very crucial for the leaders to put regular motivation and activities that give moral to the workers to ensure that they give their all to the patients.

Positive leadership ensures that the workers in the facilities trust their leaders to disclose any issue without fear. Whenever the workers feel accosted by any issue, they can easily confide in their leaders with the hope of getting necessary assistance (Shapiro and Stefkovich, 2016). Additionally, trust ensures that the workers can easily communicate with one another as well as the leaders to help ensure the facility becomes better (Farhan, 2018, p.15). The facility will therefore be able to attain its goals on time and serve their clients with dignity and respect since the workers have a proper communication channel. Once leaders build trust, the workers will also learn to trust each other. Smith (2018) believes that such an environment encourages the workers to develop their careers as they trust one another to share information that will improve their careers. Also, leaders can comfortably share information on career development with their team members as they feel the need to progress rather than stagnating each other’s careers.

Negative Impacts of Leadership

One of the greatest impact of poor leadership in health and social care is mismanagement of resources. With poor leaderships comes unaccountability and poor management of resources (Webb, 2016, p.599). Leaders fail to oversee all activities within their facilities, thus staff members take advantage to handle finances and resources poorly. Additionally, the leaders may also develop a greed character which may lead them to become less accountable and avoid transparency as they know they are responsible for mismanagement. In health centers for instance, Webb (2016, p.599) points out to the fact that health workers have a tendency of sneaking out medicine to sell in their own pharmacies as their leaders hardly follow up on such matters. Consequently, patients end up lacking medicine and ae forced to dig into their own pockets even after paying for healthcare. Shapiro and Stefkovich (2016) believe that if leaders learn to handle resources properly, such issues will hardly emerge. A good leader must learn to focus on all aspects of service provision to ensure accountability.

One of the key duties of leaders is to ensure a proper work ethic and culture. To achieve this, Speranza and Pierce (2019, p.18) recommends a proper leadership structure that fully understands all its duties. However, this may not be the case in all institutions. Some leaders do not understand how to create a proper work culture, thus cultivate poor working conditions. As long as the working conditions are not proper, Tang (2019, p.29) attests that it is impossible to achieve the goals and visions of the company. Additionally, the clients will be turned off as they will feel the confused atmosphere thus doubt the service providers (Ruben and Gigliotti, 2017, p.19). With time, such institutions are bound to fail as they would have driven away their customers. Therefore, there is a need for the leaders to have a reasonable work culture to attract clients thus ensure the prosperity of their services.

Application of Leadership Theory to Personal Leadership Practice

Theories of Leadership

Before considering the applications of different theories of leadership, one must have an understanding of these theories. Just like any other aspect of life, there are various ways to which we can understand leadership. The theories of leadership seek to help one understand how leaders can implement their perspective of organization into ensuring that their teams achieve the set goals. The five major theories of leadership as outlined by AM and Francis (2017, p.144) are:

  • Transformational Leadership
  • Leader-Member Exchange Theory
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Servant Leadership
  • Strengths-Based Leadership

Different leaders implement different theories of leadership in their respective areas of leadership depending on their capabilities and talents. For instance, a person who can freely interact with other people, listen to their issues and come up with the best solution can implement servant leadership. This section therefore analyzes the different forms of leadership and the qualities of people best suited to apply these theories.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a form of leadership whereby the leader dynamically changes the team and its objectives depending on the situation at hand. Also, it refers to a form of leadership where the leader quickly adjusts his strategies to achieve a given goal within a given period of time (Cote, 2017, p.31). Such a leader must have dynamic thoughts which allows him to come up with strategies suitable for the current team. As a leader, one must be ready to work with different people to achieve different objectives. Usually, when one assumes one leadership position, they are likely to get other subsequent leadership which require rigorous and dynamic changes. Hardly will one use the form of leadership that they used in a previous position to execute the goals of a new organization. It is therefore crucial to understand how to execute transformational leadership especially foe a leader who is not permanent in one position.

One of the characteristics of a transformational leader is the ability to quickly adapt in a new surrounding thus execute the intended goals on time (Tang, 2019, p.29). A great leader needs to quickly study a new environment, analyze the goals, and study the strengths and weakness of the team members. Thereafter, the leader must draft a proper strategy which will allow him to work with his team accordingly to ensure the success of the organization. Additionally, a leader must be a critical thinker to allow them develop strategies within a short time thus execute them accordingly (Tang, 2019, p.29). The leader must understand what the new task entails and learn to differentiate it from the previous duty. In doing so, it will be easy to develop good strategies that will ensure the success in their leadership.

Leader-Member Exchange Theory

The leader member exchange theory dwells on the fact that leadership is an inborn ability; some people are designed to take up extra responsibilities and excel well. The theory tries to elaborate why some individuals are unable to execute leadership positions by analyzing the amount of tasks they can carry out at a time. According to Martin et al. (2016, p.73), leaders show their capabilities by handling more tasks than usual. It is possible to identify such a leader from tender age.

One quality of such a leader is industry. The leader-member exchange theory believes that leaders must have extra industry to allow them handle more tasks than usual. Little, Gooty and Williams (2016, p.88 ) believe that such leaders do not do the tasks just to complete them, but ensure that have been completed accordingly and contribute positively to the organization. Additionally, such individuals show the willingness to assist their colleagues to complete their tasks as well. They depict a willingness for teamwork and success even when not assigned leadership positions. It is through such actions that one can easily pick out qualified leaders

Adaptive Leadership

Another crucial form of leadership theory is the adaptive leadership. As the name suggests, the leadership will rely on the ability of the leader understand the new task, design an appropriate plan and execute the required duties. The leader must know how to execute the duties within the shortest time to ensure that the team progresses. According to Baltaci and Balcı (2017, p.37), the adaptive leadership theory assumes that one must have had other leadership positions in other areas thus understand how to coordinate people and accomplish intended goals on time. It does not rely on training a leader on handling a team rather focuses on the ability to handle transitions.

Adaptive leadership is the best theory that can be used to differentiate leadership and authority. According to Woolard (2018, p.394), a person in authority must have the power to command and give instructions. On the other hand, a leader is someone who can influence a team to complete assigned tasks. Arthur-Mensah and Zimmerman (2017, p.6) further elaborates that adaptive leadership also helps nurture new leaders as it helps people identify a figure that is able to conduct, direct and assist other people complete their tasks accordingly. As such, for one to implement this form of leadership, they must be willing to take up new challenges by directing a new group to complete assigned tasks.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership theory builds leadership from a religious perspective as it is based on the acts of Jesus, Prophet Muhammad and other religious leaders. Although it is religious based, Lewis (2019, p.307) believes that non-religious people can also emulate this form of leadership. The idea behind servant leadership is the ability to act as an example for other team members. This theory believes that a leader must hand out tasks they can also complete to allow them indulge in team work as well (Chiniara and Bentein, 2016, p.128). Carrying out tasks does not depict a fail leader, rather it shows signs of a leader who is willing to take up tasks in case one of the team members cannot perform as expected.

One of the qualities that makes a servant leader outstanding is humility. A servant leader must be able to address the team members without getting angered easily. He must exercise patience while giving instructions and ensure that all team members are comfortable and have the necessary equipment (Williams et al.2017). Additionally, the leader must be a critical thinker and a good listener. A servant leader needs not turn down issues when presented, rather device most appropriate ways to solve the issues at hand.

Strengths-Based Leadership

Strength-based leadership theory focuses on the abilities and gifts of people. This theory primarily applies in areas that require high skill and specialization such as the medical field and engineering fields. According to Jayavant (2016, p.11), for one to qualify as a leader, they must have special skills which relate to the field at hand. Stewart (2018) attest that it is impossible for one to lead a health facility without sufficient knowledge on operation of health facilities. Additionally, one must have ample knowledge in medicine as the staff members will always seek assistance on various information which will require an expert medical practitioners to respond to. The leader must therefore have sufficient skills not only for leadership but the intended leadership position.

Strategies for the Development of Self and Others

The whole idea of leadership is to allow one to influence other people and ensure they complete the assigned goals. Also, leadership ensures there is order an understanding within the organization. People are able to share their ideas and express themselves appropriately. Proper leadership must ensure all members remained discipline and focus on the goals of the organization. As such, a leader must have an elaborate strategy that will guide him to ensure personal growth and that of the organization. Harris and Graham (2017, p.120) believe that a leader who does not have a clear strategic plan will fail to develop one for the organization. A good leader must depict that they are capable of proper organization and exercising authority by the way their conduct themselves. Otherwise, developing a strategic plan for a team would be impossible. It is therefore crucial to assess the strategies a leader will use to plan his goals and organize his team.

Strategies for Self Development

As a leader seeks to create a proper strategic plan to complete their goals, they need to focus on their personal values as these will reflect on their mode of leadership. A good leader must be astute and decisive to help create proper decisions for their team. Additionally, they need to consider their skills and abilities to figure out how they can make the team a better place. As such, Harris & Graham, (2016, p.81) advice leaders to focus on self-development before planning the goals of the team. This will ensure that they are able to translate the same skills to their leadership positions.

As a leader, one should act instantaneous rather than postponing activities. However, the decisions must be properly crafted to ensure that they will follow through with the intended plan. Harris & Graham, (2016, p.79) state that a leader who acts instantaneously to activities will definitely have the same attitude towards their personal life. They will not postpone any personal activity for any activity. Additionally, they will adhere to deadlines and provide quality work. Such an action depicts that they will be able to complete activities in their teams timely.

Good leaders develop the tendency to learn from other people as they are aware that they do not know everything. Life is a series of life lessons which people learn as they carry out their daily activities (De Smul et al. 2018, 281). A good leader can be noted by their ability to learn these activities and implement them in their lives. Through learning these activities, Smith, Grundmann, & Li (2018, p.500) believe that such individuals have the ability to teach people how to accomplish goals properly s they critically understand the learning process. As such, the leaders develop patience to handle every member of their team. Additionally, they will avoid unnecessary disagreements as they can understand the perspective of each team members as well as their position as leaders.

Strategies for Team Development

Strategies for Team Development
Strategies for Team Development

Critical Reflection on the Leadership Practice

Conclusion

Cultivating a proper and successful leadership structure in health and social care facilities may be quite complicated as compared to other institutions due to the level of skill and specialization required. To ensure proper leadership in such areas, the facility must assess the level of specialization of their candidates for leadership as well as their leadership skills. Well planned leadership structure ensures and proper service delivery and ultimate success of the institution.

Additionally, skilled leaders must ensure that they apply the same skills in their personal lives. Once one takes up a leadership position, they must realize that people look up to them even when outside the work environment. As such, people occupying leadership standards must have a proper work ethic as well as lifestyle. They need not lead a hypocritical life as this may impact on their leadership roles.

With a great leadership structure comes proper service delivery. The employees will be enticed into preforming activities properly to ensure that they achieve the goals of the organization. Additionally, the attitude directed to the staff members from their leaders will impact how they relate to their customers. As such, a good leadership structure will ensure proper service delivery to the clients.

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