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The challenges of healthcare team leadership

Question:

Write an essay on "Leadership in Healthcare".
 

With the continuous reforms in the industry of healthcare to drive a fierce pace of uncertainty and change, healthcare team leaders are adapting and evolving new sets of skills for successfully leading the healthcare organizations. Team leaders face challenges of the dizzying array that ranges from filling the vacant positions to meeting reforms. For successfully facing these challenges, the team leaders from the healthcare industry should possess a wide range of leadership skills (Mitchell et al., 2012). Apart from the reforms of the industry, the team leaders continue to battle various complicated issues demanding personality traits, leadership qualities and specific skills. They should have a very clear knowledge about the mission, vision and goals of the organization and should design a plan for overcoming the challenges for achieving them. Innate agility is the virtue a team leader should exhibit in times of changing conditions and uncertainty (Kilpatrick, 2014). They should be flexible enough for maximizing and recognizing the opportunities as the healthcare reforms are reshaping the traditional care models. Efficient team leaders accept the challenges of change as the opportunities for propelling forward with their vision (Lewis et al., 2014).

The present report will analyze and discuss the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values required by an effective team leader and the potential consequences of poor leadership. A leadership analysis tool will be used for evaluating the leadership style of the team leader along with the other members of the healthcare team. The challenges and complexities of the present healthcare industry will be taken from the perspective of the present analysis and discussion. 

The team leader of a healthcare organization should possess the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of the current healthcare reforms for becoming an effective leader.

Knowledge

Leading a team of healthcare professionals requires the maintenance of the advanced and current knowledge of the healthcare systems and diseases. The leader must be able to support, recognize and encourage the team members to achieve the maximum level of performance by creating a positive environment of work (Hoch & Kozlowski, 2014). The leader must be able to define the terms that are related to coding, billing and documentation and articulate why it is necessary for the team members to get familiar with these terms. For example, the terms like authorization, relative value units and compliance are important to know by the healthcare leaders to pass over the information to his team members.

Skills

Efficient team leaders must possess the important skills required for the treatment and care coordination of the critically ill patients in a safe and effective manner for both the transition and hospital phase of care. The leaders should develop the leadership skills for ensuring that the care is rendered in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner. The leaders must possess the relevant diagnostic and procedure skills for providing mentorship. They should be able to effect the change of systems by the application of the various quality improvement tools (Yoder-Wise, 2014). For example, Failure mode effects analysis and Plan do study act are the quality improvement tools that the team leaders should be aware of and possess the required skills for implementing them to improve care. They should also possess time management skills.

Knowledge required for effective healthcare team leadership

Attitude

The attitude of the team leader should promote the perceptions of teamwork for improving the quality of care in the hospitals to a wide range of audience that will facilitate social change. They should demonstrate a consistent level of accountability, responsibility and commitment for rendering care to the patients (Kessel, Kratzer & Schultz, 2012). They should maintain a professional behavior and respect the contribution and skills of the members of the team. Exhibit the development of leadership skills by providing training opportunities to the team members. Lack of the appropriate attitude of the team leader adverse the patient outcome (Weaver, Dy & Rosen, 2014). For example, the conveying of the clinical information between the team members during the care of a critically ill patient in ICU needs the right attitude of the leader for the accountability, professional responsibility and clinical handover of the patient.

Values

The team leader should possess a clear set of values that they utilize to drive the direction of the care and services provided. They should understand and respect their roles of team working, autonomy and sharing of responsibilities. They must ensure that appropriate care procedures are followed for upholding the service vision (Huber, 2013). For example, the team leader should reduce the barriers to team-based healthcare for the patients in intensive care units and facilitate effective teamwork and quick recovery.

Poor leadership has the most disastrous consequences on the team members. It is nothing but the lack of vision and is often misleading. The team members become aimless without a direction from their team leaders. They fail to realize the motive of their work and cannot trace the goals of the organization. They start working mechanically and cannot implement any intelligent direction for achieving the goal (Schyns & Schilling, 2013). The part of patient care faces the maximum damage in a work environment that is ambiguous. Poor leadership brings about frustration among the team members as their ability of decision making either biased or crippled. Finally, this results in extreme employee dissatisfaction and consequent attrition.

Poor leadership causes significant gap in the work process, strategy making, the capability for the execution of the strategies and interdepartmental communications. Cognitive gaps are created due to poor leadership as preference is given to the members of the team who are identical to the leaders from the perspectives of acting and thinking. This results in the formation of homogeneous settings in the team and significant gaps are created in the execution and making of the strategy (Johnson, 2013). Thus, the members who are not identical to the leaders become stressful and develop a lack of trust. The team members working in various departments of the hospital are not communicated properly and this results in lack of co-ordination in treatment. When the members approach the leader with an idea or issue, the poor leader either under deliver or over promise, thrust their self-agenda on the members or keeps on postponing their decision (Krasikova, Green & LeBreton, 2013). Thus, execution and communication gaps are the results of this attitude of the poor leaders.

Skills for effective healthcare team leadership

Poor leadership leads to the development of the mediocrity culture. It affects the improvement of the team members and they continue to stay with the similar performance unless the management for resolving the leadership issues acts upon it. The members are not assured of their growth due to the poor leadership skills of their leaders and they start emulating the business decisions and maneuvering styles (Skogstad et al., 2014). For example, a nurse working in the ward for a long time will be ignored by a poor leader and not be promoted to managing ICU patients unless the management recognizes the talent. This continues and over the time flows down the command chain to become an organizational culture, breeding mediocrity and contempt where the quality is low and the costs are high with an increased rate of customer dissatisfaction. Another serious consequence is that the good and talented team members will be leaving the organization and would migrate to another environment with growth opportunities. The team will be left behind with the undesired employees with poor performance profile (Alvesson & Spicer, 2013). Soon the bottom line is exposed bringing about the attrition of all the deserving team members who were striving with a hope of changing procedures and processes. Eventually, the morale and performance of the team are degraded and all because of the poor leadership of the leader. 

Contemporary healthcare settings are often confronted with the challenges of the workforce, changing demands and expectations of the consumers and fiscal constraints. The prime issues faced by the healthcare teams are the challenges concerned with the safety and quality levels of healthcare and the mandate for improving the patient-centered care. All these issues and challenges can be effectively met by able leadership skills of the leader. However, the reverse can happen with poor leadership skills and it can have a wide impact on the staff members, patients and the organization (Northouse, 2014).

Poor leaders are found to be toxic to an organization, as they tend to decrease the job satisfaction among the team members. They also affect the quality of patient care and client service, decrease the turnover, increase the attrition, and finally, decrease the patient satisfaction. Three characteristics can be attributed to a poor leader. A poor leader lacks the direction and a clear vision that makes the job stressful and makes the team members feel controlled, defensive and manipulative (Yeung et al., 2012). Poor leadership makes the progress of the organization limited and the existing clients start leaving. The bottom line of the organization starts to flounder and have a detrimental effect due to poor leadership. All these because a poor leader lacks the required skill, overall qualities and ability to effectively lead. If the team leader starts micromanaging the staff members at the lower level, they may get little opportunity to contribute towards the direction of the company and they do not feel invested in the long-term welfare of the organization (Nixon, Harrington & Parker, 2012). If the team leader limits the advancement opportunities, the members start leaving the organization for furthering their careers.

Attitudes for effective healthcare team leadership

Poor leadership has a deep impact on the failure of the organization that includes the time wasted in correcting the mistakes, monetary loss for the unproductive performance, wastage of potential and talent due to mismatch of the right jobs with the right people. The bottom line of the organization gets damaged which in turn lowers the productivity, motivation and the morale of the team members (Fullan, 2014). They do not value the communication factor, neither with the employees not with the patients. This creates a big gap in understanding as well as care. Poor leaders tend to spend a considerable period away from his office or desk and ignore the messages and emails of the staff members. They give lower priority to the points raised by his team members cut short the conversation. Staff opinions are not regarded and their inputs are ignored. New information is not passed over about the changed procedures and policies of the company and it negatively affects the performance of the performance of the staff members (Woodrow & Guest, 2014).

Poor leadership skills can hamper the patient care as well as frustrated employees fails to give their maximum devotion towards their services and therefore, the client satisfaction decreases. This is turn brings down the business of the organization. Therefore, the poor leaders should be identified and should not be offered the leadership position for the interest of the staff, patients and the organization. 

A leadership analysis tool is used for critically evaluating the leadership style of a team leader and other members of the healthcare team. The tool is designed for identification of the areas of strength and the leader can include them in his personality development plan and for the evaluation of the leadership style, as per the autocratic, democratic and liberal styles of leadership (Santos, Caetano & Tavares, 2015). The team leader can use the tool for assessing the leadership competencies of the team members and help them grow as future leaders. The tool can be used as a powerful means to facilitate the collection of information about the existing gaps and helps in developing the necessary skills for optimization of performance. The tool can be implemented for the healthcare leaders for a range of settings and roles and they define the field clearly. The critical evaluation of the leader and his team helps to improve the performance and it works by sharing the knowledge and common skills among the members that are complimentary (Ladegard & Gjerde, 2014). The various parameters provided by the leadership analysis tool have been discussed below.

Personal Characteristics

Positive attitude and self-confidence are the two critical aspects of personal development and growth of a leader. Leaders who are self-confident are often found to be inspiring and an optimistic and positive leader makes the best of any situation for motivating the team members. 

Emotional Intelligence

It includes communication and soft skills that a leader must possess. It helps to identify the feelings of the leader and his team members and manage those feelings and emotions for creating strong bonds of relationships.

Values for effective healthcare team leadership

Transformational Leadership

In this form of leadership, the leader tends to create a futuristic vision that is inspiring. This motivates the team members of the healthcare team to achieve the goal and helps to manage the successful implementation of the leadership skills for creating the future leaders among his members.

Relationship and Communication Management

The ability of the leader to communicate concisely and clearly for interacting with the external and internal clients and patients, maintain and establish relationships and facilitation of the constructive interactions with the groups and individuals (Western, 2013). The leadership criteria include communication skills, relationship management, negotiation and facilitation.

Knowledge of the Environment of Healthcare

The leader must have sound understanding and knowledge of the system of healthcare and its respective environment where the providers and managers of healthcare function. The leader should have the knowledge about the healthcare organizations and systems, the perspective of the patients, healthcare personnel and the healthcare community. 

Business Knowledge and Skills

The healthcare leader should possess the general business knowledge and skills that include financial management, general management, governance and organizational dynamics, human resource management, information management, marketing and strategic planning, quality improvement and risk management (Renko et al., 2015).

The healthcare leaders and the team members must demonstrate the competence in all the parameters of the leadership analysis tool of the critical evaluation of the leadership styles.  The style should ensure that the healthcare team fulfills the objectives of the organization and achieve the self-realization and satisfaction as well. Therefore, the tool helps to identify the leadership styles of the leaders for required growth and success of the organization. 

Conclusion

There is no definition for a successful leader in the healthcare industry. However, there are tendencies and practices that the leaders share to exhibit their personality. Successful and efficient team leaders have a strategy and vision for the future and they strive to become a role model for the team in terms of humility and confidence. They know the tactics to inspire performance of the team members and help them pursuit their goals. The primary mandate of the healthcare leaders is the improvement of the quality of patient care in their respective communities. Although the goals and visions vary according to the individuals, efficient team leaders tend to exhibit the core skills that are strikingly similar to building success. The personality, conduct and actions of the leader set the tone for the team and consequently, for the organization. Efficient and successful leaders create a culture of security and inclusion for the collection and interpretation of good ideas. The team members tend to share good ideas only when they gain the confidence of safety and security from their leaders. In the healthcare industry, novel approaches are widely appreciated and this should be facilitated by efficient leadership strategies and skills. Therefore, leadership in healthcare is a crucial aspect in achieving patient care of the highest level of employee satisfaction and organizational growth.  

References

Alvesson, M., & Spicer, A. (2013). 11. Does leadership create stupidity?.Critical perspectives on leadership: Emotion, toxicity, and dysfunction, 183.

Fullan, M. (2014). The principal: Three keys to maximizing impact. John Wiley & Sons.

Hoch, J. E., & Kozlowski, S. W. (2014). Leading virtual teams: Hierarchical leadership, structural supports, and shared team leadership. Journal of applied psychology, 99(3), 390.

Huber, D. (2013). Leadership and nursing care management. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Johnson, C. E. (2013). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Sage Publications.

Kessel, M., Kratzer, J., & Schultz, C. (2012). Psychological safety, knowledge sharing, and creative performance in healthcare teams. Creativity and innovation management, 21(2), 147-157.

Kilpatrick, K., Lavoie-Tremblay, M., Ritchie, J. A., & Lamothe, L. (2014). Advanced practice nursing, health care teams, and perceptions of team effectiveness. Journal of Trauma Nursing, 21(6), 291-299.

Krasikova, D. V., Green, S. G., & LeBreton, J. M. (2013). Destructive leadership a theoretical review, integration, and future research agenda.Journal of Management, 39(5), 1308-1338.

Ladegard, G., & Gjerde, S. (2014). Leadership coaching, leader role-efficacy, and trust in subordinates. A mixed methods study assessing leadership coaching as a leadership development tool. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(4), 631-646.

Lewis, S. L., Dirksen, S. R., Heitkemper, M. M., & Bucher, L. (2014). Medical-surgical nursing: assessment and management of clinical problems, single volume. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Mitchell, P., Wynia, M., Golden, R., McNellis, B., Okun, S., Webb, C. E., ... & Von Kohorn, I. (2012). Core principles & values of effective team-based health care. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine.

Nixon, P., Harrington, M., & Parker, D. (2012). Leadership performance is significant to project success or failure: a critical analysis. International Journal of productivity and performance management, 61(2), 204-216.

Northouse, P. G. (2014). Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice: Concepts and Practice. Sage Publications.

Renko, M., El Tarabishy, A., Carsrud, A. L., & Brännback, M. (2015). Understanding and measuring entrepreneurial leadership style. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(1), 54-74.

Santos, J. P., Caetano, A., & Tavares, S. M. (2015). Is training leaders in functional leadership a useful tool for improving the performance of leadership functions and team effectiveness?. The Leadership Quarterly,26(3), 470-484.

Schyns, B., & Schilling, J. (2013). How bad are the effects of bad leaders? A meta-analysis of destructive leadership and its outcomes. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), 138-158.

Skogstad, A., Hetland, J., Glasø, L., & Einarsen, S. (2014). Is avoidant leadership a root cause of subordinate stress? Longitudinal relationships between laissez-faire leadership and role ambiguity. Work & Stress, 28(4), 323-341.

Weaver, S. J., Dy, S. M., & Rosen, M. A. (2014). Team-training in healthcare: a narrative synthesis of the literature. BMJ quality & safety, bmjqs-2013.

Western, S. (2013). Leadership: A critical text. Sage.

Woodrow, C., & Guest, D. E. (2014). When good HR gets bad results: exploring the challenge of HR implementation in the case of workplace bullying. Human Resource Management Journal, 24(1), 38-56.

Yeung, J. H., Ong, G. J., Davies, R. P., Gao, F., & Perkins, G. D. (2012). Factors affecting team leadership skills and their relationship with quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation*. Critical care medicine, 40(9), 2617-2621.

Yoder-Wise, P. S. (2014). Leading and managing in nursing. Elsevier Health Sciences.

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