Leadership is defined as guiding a group of people towards achieving their goals and objectives besides developing their skills. However, in nursing, it is defined as the ability of an individual to be influential in improving quality care in conjunction with clinical care (Guibert‐Lacasa et al., 2022). Leadership in nursing is vital as it helps develop teamwork among the nurses, encouraging the success of the organization by providing a conducive environment that enables learners to work with a lot of passion. In addition to that, leadership enhances positive growth among workers and proper organization in the workplace. This paper seeks to describe individual experience in managing a team in a real-life healthcare setting.
Different Leadership Styles
The process of leadership has evolved throughout the history, and developed several different styles, each of which has its own specific features. A great example of a modern model of ethical leadership is the concept of servant leadership. According to Kumar (2018), “servant leadership is about finding satisfaction and motivation by prioritizing and serving other’s needs” (p. 44). A servant leader sees their purpose in the role of a helper, therefore, making the principle of service his leadership behavior base. Langhof and Güldenberg (2019) claim that “this servant-led culture, in turn, positively influences team performance and employees work’ engagement” (p. 45). Servant leaders see a deep, complex and socially significant goal for which they are ready to serve people, which is why this specific leadership style fits bets the healthcare setting.
The contingency approach to leadership states that the organizational success does not depend on the leader’s abilities, thus claiming the leader as just one of variables that only give effect when paired together. However, Ji and Yoon (2021) suggest that “ the source of organisational competitiveness has changed from existing systems and control mechanisms to the management and utilization of strategic human resources” (p. 39). This theory mostly erases the impact of a leader, diminishing their role as the driving force of an organization.
Another type of leadership is presented by the situational theory – this one focuses more on the behavior that the leader must exhibit when there are situational factors present. It renders the complex process of leading to 4 basic processes which depend on the task that needs to be executed. Stollberger et al. (2019) whereas demonstrate that “manager behaviors have an extended reach and not only influence their direct reports, but act through them, and affect the work performance of employees at lower levels” (p. 13253). While it offers a more deliberate approach than contingency theory, situational theory still prefers situation over leader in the process of making decisions.
My Current Leadership Style
As a peer collaborator for the clinical shift and a leader of the post conferences team, I decided to apply ethical leadership style in my work. This style has proven to be efficient and effective in attaining the objectives of most organizations, especially the clinical department. For example, in the time of pandemic or a crisis, contingency leadership would rely heavily on the employees’ performance, and could fail considerably due to the unbeatable external factors such as the lockdowns or economy failure. In the meantime, situational theory would, too, depend on the competence of the organization’s workers. Whereas with the servant approach, Song (2018) claims that “the awareness of a servant-leader, as a vigilant type of consciousness, can be aware of self, others, relations, spirit, situation, and time” (p. 262). Servant leadership allows me to encourage full participation of my colleagues within the clinic and enables me to recognize the excellent work done by my fellow teammates. However, I believe that its main strength is that it offers me the strategies to make critical decisions, resolve conflicts, collaborate with others, and recognize people’s skills and abilities.
However, I have noticed some weaknesses that might interfere with my use of the servant leadership. First of all, it is not an easy-to-use approach and the principle of service is not feasible in all organizations. Moreover, this kind of leadership can be perceived as too “soft”, and excessive attention and empathy have led me to indecisiveness and lack of vision in the past. I need to work on my employee motivation skills and my ability to decide swiftly in critical situations – both are crucial in clinical setting. Still, I believe that with time, servant leadership style will allow me to improve and grow in these and other areas. Jang and Kandampully (2017) argue that “servant leadership may enhance affective organizational commitment, which ultimately contributes to reducing the employee turnover intention” (p. 135). Therefore, if applied thoughtfully, servant leadership still presents more merits to an organization than other, non-supportive models.
Future Leadership Aspirations
I aspire to develop my servant leadership style further, as I fully believe that this is the management style that fits the healthcare sector the best. There is a deep ideology behind the concept of service leadership that can help healthcare organizations move away from the obsolete models. Al-Asadi et al. (2019) highlight “the significance of embracing more altruistic leadership approaches such as servant leadership in promoting employee job satisfaction” (p. 479). Servant leadership, obviously, offers a truly proactive management strategy which I want to investigate fully to employ in my future work. Moreover, Allen et al. (2018, p. 13) suggest that “empowering work conditions are associated with increased organizational commitment even when the employee does not experience the job as personally meaningful”. The essential difference that distinguishes this leadership model from any other is that servant leaders act for the benefit of their followers, of organizations and societies they belong to, and that is what I personally strive for.
Post Conference Activities
Description of a Clinical Setting
A clinical setting can be defined as a distinct area where professional counseling occurs: a hospital, department, or outpatient faculty. During the conference clinical teamwork, our clinical setting was composed of various aspects each of which will be reviewed below.
There were seven students from my group in the clinical setting, with me being the team leader. The students were involved in different activities that ensured applying the knowledge practically learned in class. Moreover, the students were also involved in counseling the old and sick patients, as well as in helping in environmental cleaning and other duties.
There are different units composed of different kinds of patients in a clinical setting. Overall, there were seven units: the first hosted infectious patients who were separated from the others to prevent the spreading of infections. The second and third units were designed for patients affected by Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), as well as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Finally, the last three units worked with patients who came for checkups and minor treatment.
Patient Population and Environment
The patient population accounted to over a hundred people per day during the first week, with Wednesday having the highest number of 256 patients. The numbers appeared to have reduced during the second week to a much lower count, with a minimum of 11 people on Friday. The clinical environment was always kept clean, with my team completing a full cleanup of the adjacent areas on the last week.
Post Conference Challenges and Successes
The challenges we faced during the conference as a team were that there was no efficient healthcare marketing plan and public promotion strategies. Some of the senior staff members were unsupportive, especially financial accountants, which might have been a result of clinical funds embezzlement by the management. Moreover, the exposure to airborne diseases also posed a serious threat to the overall health of the team members. However, despite these barriers, we still managed to successfully provide quality healthcare. Our efforts were especially significant in assisting in the technical repair of the laboratory equipment, proper channeling of the underground septic tanks, cleaning the laboratory equipment, and sterilization.
Application of Skills
I constantly utilized my leadership skills during the conference to support my team and patients. For example, I efficiently managed my time to ensure that we provided the best services to patients and on time. As a team, we developed a reliable communication strategy to ensure a linear flow of information as a group. Through priority setting, we were able to adhere to the clinical code of values requirements.
My Experience Leading Post Conference
Overall, I can say that the conference went well, as me and my team were able to provide quality healthcare services to the patients. Moreover, I believe that ethical leadership allowed me to manage my team better and recognize strengths and weaknesses of each of team member to distribute the tasks more thoughtfully. We have developed a comprehensive strategy for our work and set achievable performance indicators for each stage of the conference. By realizing and understanding one’s own strategic and tactical values and goals, a person can greatly facilitate goal-setting and the choice of alternatives in various uncertain situations. This is an important concept to understand, as it affects not only the career development, but the whole life of an individual. Thus, during the conference, we improved our decision-making skills as we have managed difficult situations and challenges. We discussed interesting cases that we met during the conference, and each offered their opinion on the care and treatment plans. Moreover, I constantly engaged other students in different activities, such as working in the laboratory, observing the patients, communicating with other professionals, and voicing their offers and opinions.
Still, there areas of improvement we all need to work on. I think that our communication with senior staff was flawed: we did not succeeded in developing good relations with them and thus were not able to learn from them much. Moreover, I think that my leadership abilities need further improvement: there were occurrences where I had to lean heavily on my team members for decisions and support. As a leader, I should not have to transfer my responsibilities to them, as I must remain in control of my team and my environment.
To properly manage the changes needed for better performance, the leader has to establish a strategical framework for describing, predicting, explaining, and controlling phenomena associated with the professional activities of healthcare workers. The premise of such framework is the assertion that the competence of staff depends on the continuous acquisition of experience, knowledge, and skills, encouraged by constant motivation and discussion. Moreover, the leadership style also remains one of the most effective levers of influence on the employees of an organization and a means of ensuring the required comfort for their labor.
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