Introduction Leaders in the 21st century take on particular responsibilities with respect to caring for their employees, whilst at the same time ensuring that organizational goals and objectives are met. The effectiveness of leaders with respect to these requirements is based on a number of factors primarily focused on communication, power bases, and leadership styles and management techniques. This paper will provide a first person account of the factors in a nursing environment and over a 3 to 4 day period. It will provide a first hand analysis of the primary power bases utilized, communication patterns amongst the known leaders, evident leadership and management styles and other critical factors. It was be determined whether any of these styles and factors need to be changed to affect better styles of leadership in a healthcare workplace.
Primary Power Bases Utilized
There were a number of power bases utilized by the two managers at my institution. Both leaders, “Jane” and “Matt”, used reward and expert power as their primary power bases throughout the experience. These respective bases were displayed throughout a number of instances. Expert power was conveyed through their assistance with a number of more practical and procedural situations, which required more senior support and experience (Hersey et al, 2010). They were able to easily assist and guide a number of more junior staff through each process. For example, in dealing with abrasions, both leaders were able to provide more simplistic means of treating the patients, which resulted in significant time saving and greater efficiencies throughout the clinic (Elliot, 1999). Secondly, reward power was exemplified by both leaders through their ability to praise staff and provide unique and additional rewards for persistent and high quality work. I observed on several occasions, additional leave being granted to staff that had provided extensive support to the clinic over the last few months and with little or no breaks or leave periods. They were also willing to provide verbal praise for any procedures, which were completed thoroughly and within a small period of time (Jansen, 2008). Power bases, that in contrast were absent, included coercive, reference and legitimate power. There was no requirement for both leaders to become coercive or overly assertive particularly in such a technical environment that required teamwork and extensive support mechanisms.
With respect to communication, there were a number of communication patterns apparent throughout the period and incorporated within the respective leadership and management styles of the two leaders. Communication patterns apparent throughout the period included consistent and coherent communication as well as horizontal communication that consists of the two leaders liaising with staff members on the same level instead of vertically or diagonally (Jansen, 2008). This was proven to be effective as staff members reacted positively to this and were able to learn within a short period of time and understand the requirements of the clinic and of their leaders. Coherent communication ensured that the staff members stayed on task and were treated fairly. Additionally, consistent communication patterns ensure that staff members become accustomed to the same leadership style and are more reactive as trust is developed further between leaders and employees within the particular healthcare organization (Elliot, 1999).
Leadership and Management Styles
Situational and follower styles of leadership and management were practiced throughout the 4 day period and they were proven to be effective. Situational styles of leadership focused on the two leaders understanding the requirements of each respective procedure and applying a respectable level of supervision and control, dependent on the requirements of the task. For example, there were instances where more serious cases would be presented and the two leaders would apply a more intensive level of supervision and assistance (Elliot, 1999). However in more junior and less urgent cases, the supervisors would allow trainee nurses and interns to take control of the situation and this provided the autonomy required to better train employees and to allow them to practice their respective management and leadership skills. Follower styles were also extensively demonstrated throughout the period and there were also situations where the opinions and concerns of staff were raised and staff were given the chance to provide sufficient feedback (Hersey et al, 2010).
In my opinion, the two primary leadership styles were effective as they encouraged employees to listen to the two leaders and gain an unfounded respect for their knowledge and ability to lead and manage effectively. It also prevented micro-management and ensured that they could freely work and learn without any workplace bullying or ethical issues (Hersey et al, 2010). I certainly gained a high amount of respect for both leaders and there were times where I was more than willing to provide a higher level of work to make their respective days and shifts easier.
It can be confidently stipulated that the two leaders in this case were effective in their respective communication and leadership styles With respect to communication and based on current communication theories, they were able to encourage positive feedback mechanisms amongst employees and participation in nursing environments. Furthermore, current situational and follower leadership theories such as the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory support the success that the two leaders are having in training and supervising their respective employees (Hersey et al, 2010).
It is suggested that the leaders could adopt at certain times, more assertive styles of leadership that encourage quicker response times. There were occasional instances where the leaders would not take control of the situation and would allow too much input from employees and individuals who were more junior. Too much input from employees can reduce the ability of leaders to have a greater and more positive influence on their subordinates and colleagues.
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