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Health care has continued to be the most pressing issue and a challenge of the 21st Century. United States has not only experience health care crisis, but also organizational crisis. Organizations dealing with service provision, delivery of care, and ensuring well-being of the citizens are themselves in an organized manner and ill health. Healthcare has experienced an increase in the cost of services, which continues to skyrocket. Service delivery depends on the complexity of balancing high touch, high technology, and the extensive administration of the organization. As such, quality care is indescribable to many who are in need of the service. As needy people have access to health information through the Internet, they have little access to the actual car; therefore, they are frustrated with healthcare leadership care.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we are surrounded by leaders every day. At home, work or even at play the presence of a leader can be seen everywhere. A leader is someone who guides or is in command of others. In the health sector, a leader’s aim is to achieve an organization’s goal with the assistance of followers without relying on their positions, power, or ability to influence others. The definition of leadership, however, is not so clear, as it is ever changing and evolving. Former San Francisco 49er Tight End, Dr. Jamie Williams, is convinced that leadership is like gravity in the way that you know it exists, and you can feel its presence, but you are unable to define it. (Adams, 2004) Leadership can be defined only as the process of influencing a group towards the achievement of goals. A prevailing myth states that leaders are not made, but born. Understood as the Birthright myth this theory suggests that, either a leader has it or they do not have the traits. On the contrary, if one is to study the lives of illustrious leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and F. W. Woolworth a pattern emerges they all learned from their experience to become leaders; no one was born directly into the role or its prosperity. Gantz (2009) believes that leaders are in-fact made, not born and are made the same way as everything else by continual hard work. The key to leadership lies, not in having the right stuff from birth but in acquiring the various traits during time.
In addition, the changing population demographics, and increasing numbers of disease with epidemical potential are a serious risk to the effective health care delivery. The decrease in numbers of healthcare professionals in crucial areas, and increase in interest, in the healing process engagement through alternative health care, have implied that a health care system is a need of significant attention ad leadership (Beeman, 2008).
When employees are cared for and truly valued, they in turn care and value patients and clients. The effect of employees has been transformative, as families, nurses, and patients who are their frequent customers have perceived its effect. The leaders provide the support that employees need to be successful in their endeavors. The employees are given confidence in whatever they undertake in order to learn with ease and grow in their professional and personal lives.
There are many new challenges in healthcare, including changes in the illnesses to be confronted. For instance, the post-war curable diseases, such as measles and diphtheria, are largely conquered but chronic and multiple diseases associated with a larger elderly proportion are not conquered (Krause, 2008). The emergence of new goals in the healthcare sector is attributed to the changing patterns of illnesses in the society.
Contemporary leadership must be attentive to the expectations of power and the authority by followers when exercising change for the benefit of the organization. Inclusion of workplace teas in the decision-making process involves a sharing of that informal and formal authority (Borkowski, 2009). The attempt to establish common goals, visions, and missions with solicited input of all the generational cohorts begins the process of inclusion of contemporary leadership. The sensitivity to generational values and perceptions would be a vital element to incorporate when attempting to achieve a common or shared vision with the employee of each generation. The vision would need to be negotiated by the leader to navigate those inherent differences in order to reach a reliable consensus.
The incongruity of generational lifestyle choices and overall shortage of the labor force in the United States reflects the availability of potential healthcare professionals. As noted in the United States Census Bureau data from 2010, and projected for 2014, healthcare professionals represent approximately six to seven percent of the working population (Marshall et al., 2010). Leaders are known to develop an inner ear through reflection and self-awareness. They must understand their own perspectives and perceptions (Jasper, 2008). These are the things that might skew their ability to hear with openness and acuity. In the case where leaders cannot hear their own notions, values, fears, and prejudices and give them a language and a place in the journey. As such, they will be unable to incorporate incoming information into their knowledge base, undermining heir ability to lead effectively.
Leaders who have not yet done deep spiritual and personal work still have filters in place that adjust messages from the outside to their comfort level. In addition, they can even block messages that are not congruent with their beliefs and values. By modifying what is heard, these filters reduce the leaders’ ability to respond appropriately and effectively to the messages. As such, by using their inner ear to access their beliefs and attitudes, leaders can become alert to the same dynamic going on in others (Gunderman, 2009). They can then perceive more completely the struggles, uncertainty, barriers, and challenges embedded in the utterances they hear. In addition, they hear and understand better how information is received and used by the staff as they attempt to deal with the realities affecting their own work and relationships.
Spending time in quiet self-reflection is a proven way of enhancing one’s ability to listen deeply. If leaders can get past their self-constructed barriers to self-knowledge, they can see behind the words, read into the language, and look beyond the present. Indeed, all gifts help them create a more accurate profile of the issues they face.
The influence of perceptions could inhibit multiple attempts by management in the drive for an efficient delivery of healthcare services in the contemporary setting. The need to address the importance of motivational factors within the healthcare professions would appear critical to meet the appropriate future needs of healthcare services. Leaders’ and Managers’ awareness of generational differences could create a positive work environments by adjusting and applying each colleague’s perceptions of feedback, rewards, goals, commitments to work, and career path preferences (Swayne, 2006).
Healthcare Leadership: Errors and Opportunities
Learning comes not only from the successful performance of an activity or practice, but also from mistakes. Most people are reluctant to reveal their failures, especially at work front of others. This in itself is an error. The reluctance to talk about mistakes means that the whole team risks losing vital pieces of information that can be derived from looking at the mistakes carefully. Even worse, the likelihood that others will repeat the same mistakes increases dramatically.
Clinical errors do not occur in isolation. An organization’s system, its structures and processes, have a large impact on the incidence of errors. Indeed, the system not only is the most decisive influence on the type and number of errors that are committed, but also provides the greatest opportunity for improvement. It is through understanding the errors of the past that leaders can redesign the future to support the practices that minimize system breakdowns and individual mistakes (Swansburg, 2002).
Unfortunately, the recognition of errors is not a simple or obvious process. Habitual routines often obviate the need to recognize errors, and it is true that changing what has become established involves some short-term costs. Habitual routines are familiar, comfortable, and usually temporarily successful. However, long-term survival must be the focus. The desire of most leaders to experience stability in their work life makes it difficult for them to admit that the system is not working perfectly (Hartley, 2010). Quantum leaders realize that routine practices, standard operating procedures, and traditional protocols seldom meet organizational needs for any extended length of time. Constant tinkering with processes is always necessary to ensure continuous goodness of fit of the environment.
Traditional leaders tend to put a premium on being right. They want to be seen as competent and comprehensive resource and thereby win the respect of the employees. In contrast, quantum leaders and their teams learn to become comfortable with quickly acknowledging the existence of outdated processes, suboptimal choices, and leadership mistakes and to move on regardless of the investment.
Financial resources have become the focus of clinical decision-making. Financial officers work diligently to maximize reimbursement and reduce expenses, whereas care providers do their best to deliver the comprehensive care expected by consumers (Lachman, 2009). Many healthcare leaders continue to believe that good financial performance supports clinical quality in the same way as in the past. The role of finance has become important; in fact, that in many organizations the chief financial officer has a line position and controls processes ad operations. On the other hand, the medical director holds a staff position and offers input and suggestions but is impotent to controlling patient care services (Langabeer et al., 2000). Such changes in authority and decision-making, although not reflected in the organizational chart, are otherwise explicitly recognized.
For many healthcare providers, these role changes interfere with the real work of the organization, and they view healthcare leadership these days as dealership. Health plan contract negotiations are based almost solely on actuarial data and the expectation that patients will use the least amount of services available. Further, although recognizing that both productivity and a healthy financial base are essential for survival, care providers find it disconcerting that these are to be achieved at the expense of patient care quality (Ogden, 2007). Healthcare organizations, due to poor leadership, have failed to adapt the healthcare system to the changing supply-and-demand factors and marketplace values. This failure is the source of the incredible chaos being experienced by leaders, care providers, payers, and the public.
Before the advent of prospective payment systems, the issue of value was only a minor one. Payers interested in increasing access to healthcare services covered expenses. Leaders worked to expand the types and numbers of services they offered to keep their organizations competitive. With this model, there is no accountability and no control (Porter-O’Grady et al., 2010). Not surprisingly, resources ran out, and the public rebelled against escalating healthcare expenditures. The imperative for leaders continues to be to reconnect the system with the marketplace and reestablish a balance between service, quality, and cost.
Traditionally, the financial mindset has focused on return on investment for dollars spent. This is a strategy for every successful leader in the economy. This measure has limited applicability in health care. In a return-on-investment analysis, the cost-to-benefit ratio shows the worth of spending dollars to make dollars. As such, if the benefits of a healthcare program or service can be priced in dollars, then the alternative that leads to the greatest dollars benefit analysis is appropriate. However, many healthcare decisions and services involve far more than simply generating income. Another issue is that cost-to-benefit analysis is not sensitive to healthcare objectives, including the psychological benefits of improved health, and the psychological and physiological benefits of the clean air and water.
Increasingly, healthcare leaders are switching to cost-effectiveness analysis. Instead of measuring benefits and costs in dollars, a cost-effectiveness analysis uses units such as years of life saved to measure health outcomes (Rigolosi, 2005). Although a cost-effectiveness analysis cannot determine whether a single program’s benefits outweigh its costs, it can be used to compare alternative programs. Health care leaders are best advised to develop a matrix of metrics in which multiple essential indicators are considered in the evaluation of resource use.
Leadership involves an individual’s efforts to influence the behavior of other in providing individualized, direct, and professional care. The vital premise of leadership is that leaders set goals, which shows the growth level in a given group in the environment. The leaders then develop strategies of reaching these goals, results are evaluated and altered or new directions, or adjustments are set. There is no value of good or bad in the actual state of the group, the group’s goals, or the outcomes. Managers design strategies for moving groups of personnel to more efficient and higher quality levels of functioning. The most vital point is the process of constantly developing strategies that result in identifiable, effective, and positive growth towards the set goal.
Leaders set the climate for the health care organization. Effective strategic leaders inspire employees to achieve the organizational mission and pursue the vision. They excite people by practicing the language of leadership. Ideally, this language elevates the ordinary to the extraordinary. Leaders, for instance, show how critically important everyone’s performance is to the welfare of the community, the healing of patients, and the comfort of families. Strategic leaders make hard decisions when they are necessary to move the health care organization forward. They are diplomatic when they deal with external constituencies and forge community and organizational partnerships (Rose, 2011). They know when to delegate and get out of the way and how to stay informed in order to avoid surprises.
As the healthcare environment changes, so too does the set of critical leadership competencies. The new competencies reflect an interacted perspective on the healthcare experience that encompasses the technical, relation, and international aspects of parent care. The healthcare leader must have a clear understanding of the procedural work of providers and must possess the skills to connect providers to the healthcare service (Jasper, 2008). The system’s infrastructure ensures a value-based care that is delivered within the limits of the available resources. Health care provided without an intention or effective relationships between providers is fragmented care, and fragmented care is no longer acceptable or affordable.
Necessarily, all operational positions in health care require knowledge, skills, and abilities that jointly reflect healthcare perspective. Healthcare employees accountable for ensuring that the value equation is balanced hold operational positions. Staff positions are those that support the work of the organization but do not require clinical competence. In addition, leaders at the beginning of the new millennium must determine the most effective processes to achieve the goals of high-quality patient care, organizational viability, and respectable profits. Given that healthcare economists focus on the supply and demand for services, reimbursement mechanisms, productivity, and health-related public policy, it is incumbent upon care providers to provide a clear description of the healthcare services and their outcomes. Ideally, the time and skill level requirements for each service and the cost of production provide a clear description of the healthcare services.
Consequently, setting a few focused goals and achieving them is preferable to setting and failing to achieve a broad range of goals. There is nothing debilitating than setting a host of goals and not meeting them. Therefore, it is wise to set a small number of goals and commit to achieving these goals. Being less ambitious ensures that the focus does not get lost and that significant progress can be made (Savage, 2008). Personal development is a work and requires a lifetime commitment. In addition, focusing only on key issues of self-development makes it possible to resolve tem and move on in the organization. Indeed, not every behavior or habit can be altered at the same time. Leaders need to be kind to them and not expect progress on every front. Small successes can serve as the foundation for significant change and as the means for attaining ultimate goals.
Leaders need to be similarly king to those they are helping to change. They should assist them in setting priorities so that they can better succeed in revising their behaviors and practices (Lachman, 2009). By being realistic and not expecting too much, leaders can turn success into a way of being. Success does much to alter attitudes and re-energize performance, changing both the milieu and the spirit of the work. In contrary, prayer is a vital tool in leadership. Although, there are as many religious traditions as there are leaders, prayer is central to all of them. Whatever their convictions, leaders should know that prayer has been determined to have a great impact on the quality of decisions and comfort with which challenges are faced.
People’s judgment s reflects their feelings about what they are judging, and their judgments obviously are formed by their values and prejudices, fears and uncertainties. People rarely see things, as they are but instead make what they observe into shadows of their own biases. In addition, judgments about actions are often more concerned with the agents than with the actions themselves. An action or performance, for instance, might be condemned just because the person who did it was assumed to be unskilled or inept or to lack the right to do it (Gunderman, 2009). Everything has value when seen in a valuable way. Even negative behavior can have meaning if it is understood. Leaders should avoid making their own judgments, about or otherwise, and should not seek out or pay attention to the judgments of others. They should instead try to see things within their actual context and from perspective generated from within that context. Judgments are loaded with fear content, and fear disables and limits human responses and kills the creative urge. As such, leaders must do everything in their power to eliminate judgment to allow others to respond inventively to the demand for change.
Challenge and change are normal features of the universe. Stability is equivalent to death. Change is the normal state of existence. The role of leaders is to walk the tightrope between stability and chaos, tending to favor the latter. Chaos is a sign of life in the universe and pervades human experience. Leaders do not expect stability to last for long after they realize the existence of chaos. Any stability they find is simply at resting point on the journey to the next place. Opposition, including the clash between differing interests, is part of the change. Thus, leaders are always prepared for opposition and contrary arguments, practices, and behaviors. Indeed, the techniques of managing relationships encompass ways of challenging people’s mental models. Leaders begin by clarifying their own perceptions, roles, and commitments and then challenge others to make their own commitment to fostering challenges that arise on the journey.
The universe is full of creative and transforming energy as well as mystery. Regardless of their personal belief, traditions and perceptions, leaders need to understand what this means at the individual level because they must harness the internal energy of the staff and the external energy embedded in all transformation. This combined energy reflects resonance with the changes that itself can keep people focused and directed. Leaders need to appreciate that influence and eth wisdom that is often evident in the demand for change.
Indeed, as everything is always in motion, everything that the leaders does and creates somehow reflects change and adaptation. A change does not happen for its own sake. It is the reflection of changes that, when connected together, co-create the next stage of the universe. Leaders, along with everyone else, are participants in this universal dance or exchange of energy. As such, by understanding this fact, they can deepen the meaning of their work and change efforts. Becoming aware of the wisdom guiding the universe is the first step in discerning meaning and value in the individual efforts of all who are contributing to the transformation.
Companionship on the journey of leadership is a great gift; however, only if the companionship are of the right kind. There are those who, fro some reason, are committed to making the journey of life difficult and rocky (Rigolosi, 2005). They want others to be in their condition. They obstruct the processes of transformation and suck the life out of the experience of leadership. Leaders need as much support as they can get in doing the work of leadership. They should expect colleagues and friends to be as committed to personal and organizational transformation. The work of leadership takes a lot of energy and demands who support of good people who can clarify the work and stimulate the person doing the work.
The goal of leadership is to connect the transformation to the journey of transformation. When surrounded by the challenges of leadership, leaders can lose sight of the fact that change is normal and that people cannot keep from changing. The issue, thus, is not whether they will transform, but how they will change and what condition they will be in at the end of the change cycle. People can change by design, and it is part of the leadership role to help than letting them be carried down the rapids. Working with people through their own tough times, however, can skew a leader’s perceptions ad obscure the fact that change is unavoidable. Therefore, leaders need to get away from their work occasionally. In addition, they can talk to colleagues to reaffirm their commitment to leading change and reestablish their connection with the journey and their vision of the future. Indeed, this is an essential part of leadership; staying grounded in transformation.
In the healthcare system, there is a need to initiate proper leadership traits, and these should navigate across faithfulness, setting sustainable goals, and determination in an attempt to realize its success. The leaders are the ones to foster an example to their subordinates. One cannot delegate responsibilities that he/she cannot undertake. Setting sustainable goals ensures that the leader allocate resources that will enhance its achievements in the short-run. In the current healthcare sector, the leadership role has been ignored, and individuals are just their because of money. This implies that no success is imminent in the organization.