Free Essay on Leadership

Free sample essay on Leadership:

Leadership is a prerequisite for effective management without leadership skills one cannot be an effective manager” Tappen (1985). For the purpose of this assignment the types and characteristics of leadership will be discussed. The author will briefly review the theories of leadership. Particular emphasis will be placed on the difference between transactional and transformational leadership and how it is relevant in modern nursing. The author will also explore why nursing leadership and management is vital in today’s healthcare environment and how changes in healthcare have influenced leadership and management in modern nursing.

Tappen (2001) identifies the difference between management and leadership as follows: There is a close relationship between the concepts of leadership and management. Management is a formal specifically designated position within an organization. Each department and clinical area has a manager who is responsible for the organization of that specific area. Tappen (2001) states “leadership is an unofficially achieved position that may be assumed by more than one person at any one time. Tappen suggests that management is an assigned role, leadership is an attained one”. The literature also acknowledges the concept that all people have untapped leadership potential (Tichy1997).

It is also acknowledged in the literature reviewed and it highlights that that there is confusion regarding the difference between leadership and management (Carney 1999). It is suggested that they are one and the same thing but the management role is task orientated, while the leadership role is team orientated.

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None the less both concepts are pivotal in the delivery of health care. Watson (cited by Beech 2002) identifies a useful distinction between management and leadership, using the 7Sframework: managers rely on strategy, structures and systems . Leaders use an approach involving style , staff, skill and shared goals.

To be effective leaders and managers in the nursing profession, nurse professionals must have adequate nursing knowledge, self awareness, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively and the ability to mobilize, empower and be enthusiastic about leadership activities (Tappen 1995). Burns (cited by Marquis and Huston 2000) state that there are two styles of management leaders, relevant to nursing; transactional and transformational leaders. Other styles noted in the literature include autocratic, bureaucratic, democratic, laissez faire, and employee controlled (McAdoo 2003).Theories of leadership include the trait approach, the behavioural approach, contingency leadership and charismatic leaders. The author will now focus on transformational and transactional leadership.

Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership identified by Tappen (2000) is the ability to motivate others to achieve high standards and long term goals. Transformational leaders have characteristics of being change agents, courteous, believing in people and having the ability to deal with complexity, uncertainty and being life long learners. They have a strong belief in themselves , being aware of personal strengths and weakness and have a strong belief in the success of the organization. They create an empowering culture. Carney (1999) states “the empowered nurse will deliver many benefits to an organization”. Nurse empowerment will ensure that healthcare is planned and delivered in an effective manner. Communication skills, strong values and beliefs and mutual respect are evident in the transformational leader. Transformational leadership is a key factor in optimising team performance in the delivery of quality patient care. The transformational leader provides direction for the team while enabling other team members to act. The need for effective team leadership is documented in the literature. Ovretveit (cited by Beech 2002) argues that team problems are caused by inadequate team leadership rather than any other factors. Transformational leaders are proactive and create visionary organizations. They use skills of problem solving and focus on results. An environment for success and quality is encouraged and the development of key personnel is also encouraged rather than control personnel, respect for staff is also a focus of transformational leaders. They understand that elitist attitudes are unethical and so stunt development of both organizations and personnel (Miller 1996).

Transactional Leadership
The transactional leader does not possess the previously names qualities. The characteristics of a transactional leader include the following principles; the transactional leader is more like the traditional manager, responsible for the day to day management of tasks. They focus on achieving the task at hand and maintaining the status quo. They are in a caretaker role and have no vision for the future and shared values are not identified . The transactional leader expects staff to carry out work in exchange for payment. The transactional manager can positively or negatively influenence organisational structure.

Transactional leadership best describes nursing leadership in the past (Carney1999). In the history of Irish nursing transactional nursing has been predominant (McCarthy 1998). This type of leadership was effective but it impeded the development of nurses in their management role. Lack of nursing leadership at the development of health policy has resulted in inadequate consultation with regard to nursing The health care environment is both complex and dynamic involving a variety of team members from a multidisciplinary background. Leaders are required to ensure that health care is delivered by nurses with effectiveness and efficiency. The quality of the health care delivered in the Irish health care setting is primarily determined by the quality of the nursing services. By having effective and efficient nursing workforce, it will lead to a better quality of health service.

Leaders are key to the delivery of quality care in an organization and need to be valued in their role. Kelley and Joel (1995) note that there are stumbling blocks to the development of the leadership role. This is due to the divisiveness within the profession. Other inhibitors include the lack of cohesiveness within nursing, lack of agreement on professional goals, lack of planned leadership development, and lack of internal support systems. Other issues for nurse leaders include the flattening of organization structures, the stressful nature of the work the nature of nursing practice, shift work and working conditions ( McAdoo 2003).

Healthcare organizations are undergoing enormous changes. Health policies for example ‘’The Health Strategy. Quality and Fairness (2001) and the Commission on Health Funding (1989), The Management Development Strategy (1996) have a major influence on the delivery of health care. Nurse managers and leaders are being affected by these changes. One of the goals of the Health Strategy is high performance. The Management Development Strategy (1996) established the Office of Health Management. It influences the recruitment and selection of nursing personnel and the decentralization of decision making. It promotes individual performance appraisal and leadership and management development. The implications of these have major influence on nursing management resources and the leadership skills required.

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