Sunday, February 8, 2015

Who's the Best to Follow? 4 Ways to Promote Effective Leadership that can Drive Health care Reform

As we look down the road at solving the challenges faced in our current health system, we must ask what can be some of the solutions that will resolve the dilemma we face?  Can it be improved access to providers by offering telemedicine access to patients?  Improving communication between health care entities by seeking better interoperability between EMRs?  Striving to achieve continual advances aimed at improving the safety and quality of care for people across the continuum?  It is actually each of those endeavors, but may also include another intervention that is often overlooked when speaking about reform.  It is the leadership necessary to successfully achieve the outcomes for health care reform.

Each of us has been exposed to various leadership types throughout our professional lives that has either created negative or positive effects for us.  Whether it was the little league coach who taught what was needed to win the t-ball trophy when you were a kid, or an executive who led you and a team of professionals to deliver a new innovative solution that could change the world. None of these ventures could be possible without the type of leadership that acts as a rudder in leading a team to achieving success.  As we head into the storm of health care reform we need a presence at the helm that can be successful in leading teams to the common goal of providing care for all Americans. With such an important task at hand it is imperative to choose leaders who can inspire and mobilize others to action.

Throughout our history people have been attending business schools, joining military academies, and playing on sports teams to cultivate the skills necessary to become the leaders of our society. In each of these organizations specific leadership styles are studied that have been proven to be effective in achieving results.  Here are some of the most common types of leadership styles:

According to the book, Leadership and the One Minute Manager (Blanchard, Zigarmi, and Zigarmi. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1985), there are 4 common leadership styles used to move teams to action:
  • Directing: This style uses high directive and low supportive behavior and is best matched to the D1 (low competence and high commitment).
  • Coaching: Uses high directive and high supportive behavior and is best matched to D2 (low to some competence and low commitment).
  • Supporting: This has has highly supportive and low directive behavior, it is best matched to D3 (moderate to high competence and variable commitment).
  • Delegating: This style combines low supportive and directive behavior and it's best for D4 (high commitment and high competence)Directive behavior is described as giving direction and feedback. It can range from low to high depending on the developmental level of the person it is aimed at. Supportive behavior on the other hand  is more about encouragement and motivation to boost confidence.

In the Harvard Business Review, the 2000 article Leadership That Gets ResultsDaniel Goleman outlined six leadership styles he felt were most commonly used in the workplace.

  • Coercive Style - Demands immediate compliance.
  • Authoritative - Mobilizes people toward a common vision.
  • Affiliative - Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds.
  • Democratic - Forges consensus through participation.
  • Pace setting - Sets high standards for performance.
  • Coaching - Develops people for their future.

The authors of these works may have chosen different styles to highlight, but the same themes were present in both publications.  If leadership is a key component to succeeding at driving health care reform, how can leaders put these styles into action to generate the positive results necessary? 

Here are the 4 ways successful leaders can drive the change needed for health care reform. 

  1. Create a common bond with those they lead - How often does your boss give you a daily greeting or acknowledge the work that you've done?  Creating a bond with others requires showing in tangible ways that they hold value in your eyes.  By saying a simple hello, asking how they're doing, or saying thank you when they complete a task can be the simple actions that can go a long way in creating bonds with the teams you lead.  Generating the bond is the first step if a leader wants to gain the attention of those they lead.                                                               
  2. Help their teams gain a common vision for success - How does the organization define success?  What are the strategic goals that have been identified for the upcoming year?  In order to create a common vision, this information must be shared with the team. Transparency is the only way to generate the trust necessary to ask others to follow.  When information is shared freely with teams it decreases apprehension, it builds trust, and ultimately creates partners who will share in a common vision because they feel like valued team members who are necessary for achieving success.                                                                                                  
  3. Inspire those they lead to do their best every day - Every organization starts with forming a mission, vision, and possibly a set of core values that guide the actions of those completing the work.  Leaders need to set the example by adhering to their organizational standards, and striving to be the best.  This may require letting staff see you acknowledge your shortcomings, and then allowing them to see a plan of action where the leader learns from the failure.  If leaders are going to ask teams to do their best they must be prepared to be an example each day in their own personal quest for excellence.  Actions truly speak louder than words.                                                                                                                                             
  4. Motivate their team to grow professionally, and become future leaders - How much time to leaders take to focus on the personal strengths of the teams they lead?  Are they willing to know each person?  Do they look for opportunities to support and advocate for the members of their team?  Do they create ways for their team members to grow personally or encourage them in their professional growth?  If an organization wants to remain viable in the future it must have a dedication to cultivating new leaders.  By taking the time to mentor team members and help them reach their potential, leaders need to create opportunities for their team to see how being in a leadership role can provide the ability to be the catalyst for creating positive change.
The road to health care reform may have it's challenges, but with the proper leadership in place there can be a bright future that includes better access to care for all.  When organizations take the time to fill their ranks with leaders who can motivate teams to a common vision, successfully inspire them to achieve excellence daily, and grow professionally by utilizing their personal strengths to improve the quality of life for others as the next generation of health care leaders.  Then we will be on our way to successfully achieving better health care for all Americans.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting. I would love to hear your thoughts. Take care, Dave.