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Transformational Leadership in Healthcare

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The modern healthcare system is a large scale organization that requires a complex approach to the decision-making process. The major goal of a present-day healthcare organization is increasing quality and access while maintaining cost efficiency (Wikstrom & Dellve, 2009). In order to achieve this goal, a healthcare organization has to have a good leader that knows how to make right decisions. The ability to make decisions and enhance the motivation, morale, and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms is called transformational leadership. This essay will analyze the issues related to transformational leadership in healthcare and describe how a first-line leader would act to fulfill the purpose and functions of transformational leadership. The study will rely on two peer-reviewed sources in order to present a consistent and comprehensive research on the topic.

In order to fulfill the purpose and functions of transformational leadership, a leader has to remember that any good practice will spread faster within the healthcare organization if the patterns of the last attempts to innovate are acknowledged and respected (Plsek & Wilson, 2001). In regard to this idea, it may be suggested that an optimal way for transformational leadership would rely on four basic principles: people in transformational leadership, processes in transformational leadership, policies in transformational leadership, and systems in transformational leadership. First of all, a leader has to know and guide people engaged in projects as they are at the heart of running an organization. Second, a leader has to develop a set of directions or processes that must be then communicated to employees in a comprehensible way. Third, certain policies regarding how things have to be done need to be articulated clearly. Finally, it has to be decided what tools have to be used in creating an organizational culture. Finding the best software and technology will significantly improve the performance. Following these basic principles will considerably assist a leader in the process of fulfillment of purpose and functions of transformational leadership.

The most important aspect of transformational leadership, as well as any other kind of leadership, is motivation. For the managers of healthcare organizations that include a great number of employees, it has always been a problem to find the optimal tools for motivation. Motivation is a psychological process that reinforces the individuals’ ability for a higher level of performance to achieve some personal or organizational goals (Bruce & Pepitone, 1998). Employee motivation means providing productivity as the productivity of work depends directly on employees’ motivation. The problem of motivation has been discussed many times, and various economists have already suggested the numerous ways of solving this problem. Nevertheless, in every single organization, there are various conditions and factors that make this case unique and different from others.

The problem of sufficient methods of motivation is becoming more and more relevant in recent times. The provision of any goods or service always involves participation of human labor to more or less extent; the employees’ role in the product or service supplying must not be underestimated. As a result, reinforcing better work is one of the purposes of successful management. For now, it is of great importance to explore the problem of employee motivation and find the appropriate tools for carrying out this research.

Since the first investigations in this field, it has been discovered that both monetary and non-monetary items participated equally in the process of increasing workers’ motivation. The roles of both these reinforcement techniques are important and make great parts of the sufficient motivation-making process (Banks, 1997). From this perspective, it is very important not to overestimate the role of monetary tools of motivation or underestimate the meaning of non-monetary ones. It is known from studies of the greatest theorists that monetary items function only on the first stages of the motivation-making process. With the increase of employees’ income, money reinforcement becomes less motivator. Thus, increased salary can be efficient only at the beginning. Later, this money factor loses its efficiency, especially for older employees.

There are certain techniques used in the motivation-making process. In order to increase employees’ motivation, a good leader has to know these techniques and keep them in mind when choosing the motivational strategy. First step is to identify and analyze the reasons of the existing low motivation of employees. Then it is necessary to recognize the factors that turned to be bad motivators and those that are supposedly good. As there is no single universal factor that could motivate all employees equally, the motivators vary widely, depending on different conditions. Some motivation techniques may seem efficient at first glance but fail to perform good results later. After gathering and analyzing information on the process of motivation of the employees and identifying bad and good motivators, the next step is to implement the motivational factors that appeared to be good motivators for the employees. These are the major techniques used in the motivation-making process. Understanding of these methods will help to motivate employees, and this in turn will significantly increase the organization’s overall performance (Vroom, 1994).

Analyzing the concept of motivation, any kind of project, organization or business is held up by its employees. Therefore, successful leadership must be based on motivating these employees or followers with appropriate means. These means may include connecting the follower’s sense of identity and self to the project and the collective identity of the organization; being a role model for followers that inspires them and makes them interested; challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of followers in order to align followers with tasks that enhance their performance. These are very important aspects of building an efficient working team. The right team improves productivity and maintains developed organizational culture. Organizational culture provides the creating of good and effective working environment that affects the overall performance at the same time. For this reason, transformational leadership is tightly connected with the subjects of organizational change and management.

Organizational management is the process of getting people involved into particular activity on a specific matter in order to achieve the common goal. This process includes planning and control at the workplace and provides optimal use of the resources. Organizational management is directed to find the best approaches to performance improvement and establish efficient working environment. Organizational management gives the employees a direction of work and arranges the roles and responsibilities among members of the staff. Effective management is required to provide better coordination between various departments of the company. Thus, a good leader has to take into account the essential features of organizational management when organizing the working process.

The term “transformational leadership” itself implies that a certain transformation is about to occur within a particular group of people. This transformation is aimed at changing people’s motivational sets, goals, and strategies. A good leader knows how to influence human behavior and way of thinking in order to improve performance, relationships within the group, and problem-solving strategies. In order to have influence on people, a leader has to gain authority. A person with great vision, passion, and confidence is an inspirational example that people would like to follow. This is the major assumption of transformational leadership. This concept implies that the best way to get things done is to put enthusiasm and energy into the project. Transformational leaders tend to care about their followers and actually want them to succeed. Therefore, working or interacting in any other way with a transformational leader could be a very useful and inspirational experience. In terms of healthcare, transformational leader could assist not only the staff of a healthcare institution, but its residents, patients, and their families. It is conditioned by the fact that a transformational leader knows how to find the best approach to any individual or a group.

Transformational leaders are often very charismatic, but not as charismatic leaders who rather believe in themselves and cultivate this faith in others than in their followers. Transformational leaders in healthcare have to be compassionate and empathic as they encounter with people who often face serious problems and have to make difficult decisions. Thereby, a good leader has to know how to support such people and give them hope and confidence that would allow them to overcome their problems. Transformational leadership is aimed at not simply obtaining the efficient results but at providing comfortable and decent conditions for different stages of this process. Therefore, even though the result remains the ultimate goal, it is no to be achieved by any means, but the most convenient way for everyone involved. This is the major distinction of transformational leadership that makes it different in kind from other types of leadership.

Transformational leadership is more complex and occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to a higher level of motivation and morality. Through the transforming process, the motives of a leader and the followers become identical. This relationship transforms both parties by raising the level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both a leader and the led. The main feature of the concept of transformational leadership implies that the leaders have the ability to articulate the vision of the future clearly. The picture they describe and the values they emulate are so exciting and meaningful that they cause strong commitment by others as their vision often reflects the aspiration of their followers. This kind of leadership has been called elevating, mobilizing, inspiring, exalting, uplifting, preaching, exhorting, and even evangelizing because of its nature.

The future of leadership in the health care workforce, whether within public or private organizations, will continue to require creative, interdisciplinary, and most often culturally diverse collaborations. Solving problems that are significant to the larger society will increasingly dominate the public and private sectors – health and well-being, health care, energy, deficits, credit and savings, science and technology literacy, retirement versus work, terrorism, etc.

Academic medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and allied health professions will be required to meet the rapidly changing needs of the larger culturally diverse society through major revisions of their academic programs, as well as the design and implementation of integrated education, research, and clinical research and clinical services. Numerous social, economic, and political factors will continue to shape many directions for change. Communities that present excessive burdens of disease based upon socioeconomic determinants will increasing require culturally competent health care workforce that will emphasize health literacy, health promotion, disease prevention, and risk assessment that can effectively reduce health disparities in America. Future will present culturally diverse health care workforce (including clinicians, scientists, engineers, sociologists, law and public policy-makers, businessmen, and others) that must be educated and trained to meet the nation’s needs for wellness in the 21st century.

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