Managing and leading people has been a topic of great interest for many years with scholars. It is often debated how the style of leadership or management can impact the working environment, relationship, and productivity. Management and leadership theories have evolved over the years. Often the notion of leadership and management are discussed as two separate processes. Moreover, various models of leadership and management can contribute to an individual’s leadership style. This assignment will aim to examine the author’s approach to leadership evolved during his career. Throughout the development of this assignment, the theories and models of management and leadership will be briefly explored. A literature review will be undertaken, and models/theories will be used to evaluate practice. Furthermore, the relationship between management and leadership will be analysed and various facets of leadership will be examined. The author will reflect on his leadership and management skills using evidence of personal evaluation and critical analysis.
For the purpose of this assignment, managerial leadership in organisation will be used to analyse the author’s approach to leadership. Emphasis will be placed on the different styles of leadership used and its relevance in modern nursing. A reflective model will be used to guide the author to reflect on the experience of leadership. The model will be applied throughout the development of this assignment. The Gibbs model of reflection (Gibbs 1988) has been chosen. For clarity on the development of this assignment, it will be presented into five sections: introduction, background, literature review, analysis of work context, conclusion/recommendations.
The author works within a large acute NHS trust organisation. Arrowe Park hospital provides a comprehensive range of high-quality acute care services serving a population of about 400,000 people across Wirral, Ellesmere Port, Neston, North Wales and the wider North West footprint (Wirral University Teaching Hospitals, 2018b). The author joined this organisation after qualifying as a registered nurse in 2005. Having secured a job as staff nurse, the author worked on an acute urology ward. Over the years, the author worked in various leadership capacity and managerial roles. As a staff nurse, leadership skills were limited to the team you worked within and how workload was organised. Although there were opportunities to deputised in the absence of the ward manager, it depended mainly on seniority rather that ability to be in charge. From an earlier stage of his career, the author was passionate about career progression and acquiring new skills. The opportunity came in the first eighteen months of his career when the author was successful in securing the post of primary nurse (senior ward nurse). Although there was no financial remuneration, the status of being a primary nurse gave the author the opportunity to oversee the running of the ward . The leadership approach at the time was of a transactional nature as it was task orientated. However, being able to be in charge gave the author the opportunity to explore his leadership qualities. In addition to this new role, being a mentor to student nurses helped the author developed his coaching and mentoring skills. However, despite having some element of leadership skills, the line of sight remained with patient care on the ward. It felt quite isolated not knowing about the organisation’s visions and any plans for service development. There was limited exposure to senior management staffs and it felt like there was very strong hierarchical approach from the organisation. The author’s second career transition was from a staff nurse to a deputy ward manager within the urology ward. This transition was a challenge initially as the author had to detached himself from his peers to be their manager. Being in a managerial role gave more exposure to processes, people management, and organising work load. The lack of leadership skills development and mentoring resulted in the author having to deal with conflict and situations that he had not dealt with before. Learning by experience proved difficult but also helped in discovering the author’s traits and style of preferred leadership style. Staff engagement and support became a key part of the author’s leadership style. After spending two years in the deputy ward manager post, the author was successful in securing the ward manager’s post. This role came with huge responsibilities as it included the running of a ward, responsible for a team of nurses, staff development, financial responsibilities, responsibility for achieving ward key performance indicators, patient care and safety. This role was pivotal in determining the author’s leadership style. Following on from previous traits, knowledge and experience, the author further developed his leadership skills. The author’s own personal values, motives, social role and self-image helped him established an open and honest relationship with staffs but also incorporating a culture of inclusivity to achieve common goals. Also, the use of emotional intelligence was helpful in empowering others in delivering better performance. Values, principle, traits and motives drive our decision as human. Values tend to involve a judgmental base of what is right or wrong and tend to be stable and enduring, though as with personality traits, can change over time.
Currently the author is working as a matron within the trauma and orthopaedics department. This role demands a more strategic view and involves service development but also having a bigger workforce to engage with. In order to deliver on patient care improvement, staffs must be able to share the visions of the organisations and worked towards common goals. Staff engagement and development is vital in achieving these goals, hence a transformational approach is required. Over the course of his career, the author has seen a shift in his management and leadership style. The career progression from staff nurse to matron has exposed the author to various leadership styles. In order to have a successful transition from nurse to manager, the author had to relinquish some of the clinical duties and behaviours.
Management and leadership are integral to the running of an organisation. Leadership has been defined in several ways following years of research. The role of the leader is still being explored and different methodologies are used to analyse the qualities of a successful leader. In the past, most research has been based on the determinant of effective leadership rather that the aspects of leadership that contributes to its effectiveness. Yulk (2002) confers that research has mostly evolved around effectiveness of the leader rather than analysing the leadership skills and qualities. The notion of leadership is complex in nature as it cannot only reflects on an individual’s ability to lead but also on an individual’s understanding of leadership. Hughes et al (2006, Part 1) see ‘leadership as a process rather than a position’. It is difficult to have one true definition of leadership due to the vast amount of literature available and the aspects that the role covers. Although, ‘inspirational’ and ‘influential’ are the most used words to describe leadership, the author believes that leadership should be defined in terms of its effectiveness based on traits, power, style and social process. Yulk (2002) defined leadership as a process whereby intentional influence is exerted over a group of people. Similarly, Bernard and Walsh (1995) identify leadership as a process that is ‘used to move a group towards goal setting and goal achievement and can be learned’. On the contrary Rafferty (1993) described leadership as people, who inspire you, and others will follow and trust their integrity. Most definitions differ in the way or purpose that influence is exerted which reflect the disagreement between researchers about leadership and its process. As individuals, everyone manifests a certain degree of leadership in their day to day job. However, to excel in any leadership role, one must understand what leadership is. Arguably, the author believes that leaders should have their own definition of what an effective leadership should be as it is directly related to their leadership style, traits and behaviour. Effectiveness of leadership depends on the leadership style of the leader (Yulk, 2002). Bernard and Walsh (1995) notion of leadership as a process assumes that any person can become a leader if the process is followed. The author disagrees with this notion and believes there are certain personality traits, skill sets and motivations that need to be present in a leader for effective leadership to take place. On reflection, the author’s feels that his paradigm of effective leadership in his field of practice is someone who has a clear vision of goals, is motivational, supportive and is able to identify the strength and weaknesses of his team/followers but also be able to bring out the best out of the team to achieve the desired outcome.
Kotter (1990) cited in Yulk (2002 p6) differentiate leadership and management in terms of their core process and intended outcomes. Some researchers argue that leadership and management are two separate processes. Bennis and Nanus (1985, P21) cited in Yulk (2002) states that ‘managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing’. Conversely scholars like Mintzberg (1973) and Kotter (1988) cited in Yulk (2002) also view leadership and management as separate processes but argue that leaders and managers are not different people. There is a consensus between scholars that a successful manager in organisations requires an element of leadership (Yulk, 2002). Mullins & Christy (2010) defines management in its simplest form as ‘making things happens’. Furthermore Nahavandi (2012) also cited in Burnes (2017) sees management and leadership as two separate processes but with distinct goals. However, Vroom and Jago (1988) cited in Burnes (2017) argue that management and leadership skills are interdependent of each other depending on the situation. Having worked in both roles, the author firmly believes that leadership and management are interdependent. The focus of each role may be different however there are crossovers within each processes.
The transition from staff nurse to matron’s position is a major career development, requiring an evolution from a known, current reality to an unknown new reality. This is highlighted by Barba & SeIder (1995) who describe transition into leadership role require restructuring of goals, behaviours and responsibilities to achieve a new conception of self. In contrast, Meleis, et aI. (2000) state that transitions can be facilitated by an individual’s beliefs, attitudes, social norms, preparation and knowledge. Both approaches make a valid point, however it fails to conclude if leadership is based on an individual’s personality trait or an acquired skill. Equally important, the author believes that leadership style is a natural extension on an individual’s personality, similar to an individual’s action in life is a natural extension of their beliefs. Hence, one could argue why certain leadership style works for some people and not for others.
Leadership style varies across all professions. The style is based on the positions people are working and the interaction with their followers in carrying out activities. The mostly discussed leadership styles are; autocratic, transactional, transformational and democratic. Moreover, over the years there have been an emergence of new leadership styles; somewhat a hybrid of the core leadership styles for example adaptive, situational, team, strategic and bureaucratic styles. Cook (2001) highlights that leadership in nursing involves direct patient care and a desire to be a positive inspiration to everyone with whom a nurse interacts.
To be effective in his role at the start of his leadership journey, the author had to incorporate leadership and communication skills with conflict resolution, time management and organisational techniques, delegation, mentorship, ensuring safe and effective care, education and role modelling to be successful. It was a difficult position because one day I can be in charge and the next day a peer to the staff that I supervised the day before. At that time of his career, the author favoured a team leadership style given his position of work. Blake Mouton model emphasizes that a team leader stresses production needs as well as the needs of people equally high (Owens, 2009). By nature, this style tends to be a great motivator, but more importantly, the team has a greater sense of ownership and satisfaction. Blake and Mouton (1964) describes two extremes of leadership concern:
- Concern for people. This is focused on the need for team members, their interest and the need for personal and professional development within organisations.
- Concern for production. This is focused on achievement of goals and the achievement of standards and targets in an organisation.
Barr and Dowding (2012) also acknowledged that team working is becoming the way forward for health care delivery. This notion is supported by Lord Darzi (2008) who sees leadership as a team effort rather than an individual achievement. Leaders cannot work in solitary. To be able to achieve and deliver, leaders need to have a clear channel of communication and be able to delegate duties and responsibilities.
Mullins & Christy (2010) describes successful management as an integration of human personality and work organisation, in other words, if people are engaged and committed, they will work more willingly and effectively.
For the author’s role to be successful as a deputy ward manager/ward manager, he had to relinquish the staff nurse role for the manager’s role. Heller et al (2004) recognizes the fact that healthcare system requires competent nurse managers to face the daily challenges that health service faces, however, nurse managers are not prepared for the role. Ibara (2000) re enforces the fact that while some nurse managers are privileged to go through an apprenticeship, others are left to get on with the job. Being a manager required additional competencies such as scheduling, planning and organization, navigating interdepartmental conflicts, giving feedback to employees, coaching and developing the team, delegation, goal setting and more. At the initial stage of this transition, the author faced some difficulties. The skills that make an individual a great coworker doesn’t necessarily translate into being the boss of his peers. As a manager, the author’s role included leading and inspiring staff while managing service provision. This is exemplified by Goleman (1988) who looks at leadership in nurses in terms of skills and competencies such as social awareness, self awareness, ability to manage one’s self and managing relationship.