Transformational Leadership in Health Care
Management is concerned with order and consistency, while leadership is concerned with change and movement. Management is also concerned with the control of intricate processes, while leadership is concerned with an exigent of current ways, and formulating new ideas and policies to drive the organization. Therefore, in a health care setting, leadership is more important than management since this is a dynamic world whose changes are exponential over short periods. Consequently, the leaders have to constantly change their ideologies, policies, practices, actions, and management styles to suit this dynamic and changing environment (Stewart 59). In health care, one of the pertinent leadership theories that can be applied to this dynamic and diverse field is transformational leadership theory.
According to proponents of the theory, the transformational leadership theory suggests that the leader practices a system and structure where inspiration, motivation, role modeling, challenging workers, and providing autonomy encourages innovation and growth. These ideas are classified using the four Is of idealized influence (II), inspirational motivation (IM), individualized consideration (IC), and intellectual stimulation (IS). The strategies employed under this theory have been lauded as effective since they create a system where the workers are involved in promoting and growing the vision and mission of the organization in an environment that is accommodative of their strengths, weaknesses, skills, experience, knowledge, and competencies.
Since the health care environment is constantly requiring newer and more skilled techniques to improve the quality of care, it is paramount that staffs also align their skills and education with these changes. One of the methodologies employed by transformational leaders is the encouragement of staff to embrace innovation, intellectual, and skill development in an environment that allows them autonomy to hone them based on their abilities. Enforcing certain skill and education on the health workers can have detrimental outcomes, as it would reduce productivity and efficiency (Stewart 55). Motivating and challenging the health workers to embrace the change has better results since the workers consider this as a career development initiative, rather than the organization forcing its will on them.
One of the paramount theories used in the nursing field is the role modeling theory, which proposes that a leader should act and perform in a manner that his/her subjects can emulate and respect his/her decisions. This is also in tandem with the idealized influence of the transformational theory that proposes the provision of a leader who can act as a role model to the staff (Covey 228). In the health care environment, this is esteem since this leader would guide how actions, policies, and systems are managed within the organization. For instance, in the ER department, the physician can take the role of the leader, and is mandated to embody professionalism, skill, and patience. The latter is important since the ER department is often faced with extreme cases that require the attention and patience of all the staff when dealing with the situation. If the leader begins to panic and doubt themselves, the staff will also take root and the consequences may be dire.
One of the prime strategies employed o enhance the quality of service delivery in the health care environment is teamwork. As a transformational leader, an individual has to ensure that collective motivation, inspiration, challenging, and innovation is encouraged (Bass and Riggio 117). However, in most cases, some group members may be adamant to change, or may exhibit slower progress when adapting to change. This presents a challenge since these individuals cannot be forced to learn or adapt to some changes in skills, education, or work ethics. Therefore, group dynamics and collective management or leadership acts as an impediment to the utility of the transformational leadership theory. To surpass this hurdle, the leader has to first identify the strengths and weaknesses of all individuals and craft change development actions and agendas in a manner that the group adapts to these changes collectively and evenly.
For instance, the adaption of technology into the health care environment has forced staff and leaders to adapt to these changes of the use of information and management systems. However, in spite of the training and education provided, some staff can have a hard time adjusting to these changes. Therefore, the transformational leader can exert his influence by identifying the quick learners and making them act as role models to their other work colleagues by motivating and encouraging embracing the new technologies.
In conclusion, the transformational leadership theory when applied to the health care setting can have positive effects that would greatly improve the quality of health care being delivered. It is paramount that that the leader provides leadership, rather than management since the former is adaptive to changes in the dynamic health care environment. Using the four is of transformational leadership theory, the leader can be instrumental in building an effective, productive, and highly motivated work force ready to face challenges and perform their duties autonomously. Caution should however be observed when applying this theory to the work place, since it cannot act alone and other strategies have to be employed to enhance employee and organizational performance.
Bass, Bernard M and Riggio, E. Ronald. Transformational Leadership. New York: Routledge. 2006. Print.
Covey, Stephen. The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. New York: Simon and Schuster. 2006. Print.
Stewart, Gabel. Transformational Leadership and Healthcare. The Journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators. 23.1 (2013): 55-60