In today's Business Environment, effective leadership is of prime importance so that the goals of the organization can be achieved (Travers, Morisano and Locke, 2015). Considering the perspective of health and social care, leadership is required for making the best clinical judgment for the patients. This is because it involves working as a collaborator and mentor, thereby leading to delivery of high quality care (Melnyk and et.al. 2012).
It is the prime requirements for providing holistic care so that patient outcomes can be improved (Klinga et.al. 2015). For this, it is important to reflect upon one's own leadership style, whilst working as a nurse leader in a hospital in India. The present essay will consider the use of a reflective account on individual leadership style and strategies for self-improvement and to identify personal strengths and weaknesses and its influence on nursing professionals and patients. Lastly, the essay identifies some areas of personal development. Reflection is concerned with giving a deep thought to one's work. It is a way in which an individual can assess himself. Reflection is important (Schantz, 2007) because it helps a person to develop his skills and review their effectiveness. In this essay, a reflective account has been prepared which depicts situation between nurse leader who tries to resolve conflict among staff members. This reflective account has been based on Gibbs' reflective model.
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Leadership is the ability with which other people can be influenced to work towards achievement of the goals of the leaders; it is a process of social influence which is used by a person to obtain the support of others for accomplishing a task (Selznick, 2011).
Leadership is an important concept in health and social care (Voon et al., 2011). This is because Vinkenburg et.al., (2011) suggested that effective leadership and strong management determine the delivery of successful health and social care services. Nurse leaders are responsible for creation of a health environment through their effective leadership skills (Johnson, 2015). A key role is played by the nurse leaders in providing the correct shape to the nursing profession so that it can become more responsive to the changes in health care system (Corbin, 2008). Certain important qualities are possessed by nursing leaders. Some of them include ability to work as an advocate for quality care, work as a collaborator, mentor and risk taker (Leadership, 2015). Nurse leaders also act as articulate communicators. In this way, they develop the vision for others and become their role model (Pearce and et.al., 2012).
In health and social care, leadership can be regarded as a complex and sophisticated social role. For streamlining the advanced practice nursing integration processes, nursing leadership is critical (Hunter, 2004). In nursing, there is requirement of strong, consistent and knowledgeable leaders who are capable of inspiring others and providing support to the nursing practice (Makaroff and et.al.,2010). However, it can be critically evaluated that leadership is not situation specific. In the new environment, nurse leaders are required to learn and adjust so that their abilities can be efficiently utilized in providing health care services. For effective leadership, ambition is required (Fallon, 2014). It is with the ambition which leads to creation of hard work, determination and unconditional desire for achievement of better patient outcomes.
Leadership skills are of prime importance in professional work. There are various works which are required to be done by nurses in a health and social care workplace (Goethals, 2014). For example, as a nurse leader, I need to develop strong networks and relationships at the workplace so that nursing practice could be excelled. This can only be done with effective leadership skills such as ability to act as a collaborator and an articulate communicator. It is only with the ability of being an advocate for quality care that humanism can be restored to the workplace environment. For a health and social care workplace, humanism is of considerable significance (Pearcey, 2007). This is because a health care setting is involved in providing care, support and treatment to the service users. This cannot be efficiently done if the workplace lacks the element of humanism (Travers, Morisano and Locke, 2015).
It can be analysed that in a health and social care setting, the efficiency of nurses lie in their ability to provide the required care to the patients on time. For this, leadership skills of risk taking and time management are required (White, Currie and Lockett, 2014). This is because the nurses have to take immediate decisions in emergency situation which involve taking risk related to the treatment of service users. They also need to have time management skills because along with providing care to the emergency cases, the nurses also have to attend to the patients already admitted in the hospital.
In a health care setting, there is a need to manage busy schedules and look after a number of patients at the same time. As it is not feasible to care for a greater number of patients, there are chances that the quality of care falls (Arrolig et.al., 2014). In this situation, nurse leaders are required to delegate their work to other staff members. All this can be effectively done with the leadership skill of delegation (Spillane, 2012). Along with providing care to the patients, sometimes there arises the need for providing direction to the other staff members in critical situations. This is a leadership skill, in which, nurse leaders are required to set realistic goals and provide direction to the staff for achieving them (Johnson and Rea, 2009). In this regard, the nurse leaders act as mentors. They set the vision for the subordinates and act as a role model for other employees (Schantz, 2007). In this way, the health care staff learns to handle critical situations with the help the vision provided by the nurse leaders in a health care setting. Moreover, leadership skills help the nurses to formulate concrete benchmarks for attaining the next achievement level (Ginsburg and et.al., 2005).
Motivation is an essential component of a successful organization (Bobbio, Van Dierendonck and Manganelli, 2012). Health care staffs need to be kept motivated so that they work diligently towards achieving the goals of providing reliable, safe and timely care and treatment. In a health care workplace, it is even more important because nursing staff experiences situations that lead to stress and burn out. There are times when nursing staff have to attend to a number of patients and work for long hours (Gupta, 2015). Due to this, the nurses suffer from chronic stress (Gilson et.al., 2014). Here comes the relevance of leadership skills. With effective leadership skills, the members of health care team can be motivated. This is because the nurse leader is capable of showing them the right direction. The leader also identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the team members and assists them in their professional development.
At workplace, there are various issues which result in conflicts among health care staff. Issues arise due to difference in the work practices. The also arise on account of different attitudes, behaviour and values of the staff members. Leadership skills help in resolving workplace conflicts (Prive, 2012). Another important aspect of a health and social care workplace is effective communication. This is a must for bringing clarity in the expectations that a manager has from his team. Effective communication is also required for bringing clarity in roles and responsibilities. For providing safe and accountable care and treatment, it is essential to provide a clear and succinct description of what others are expected to do. It is here that leadership skills find their relevance. Furthermore, a productive and healthy work environment can be created with the help of these traits. This helps in implementing open lines of communication through which workplace issues can be discussed (Voon et.al., 2011).
There are various models of reflection which provide a structured process for guiding the act of reflection. These models have been developed for business and education. However, there are some models which pertain to the field of nursing. Self-reflection is essential for nurses as it gives them the ability of combining theory and practice (Kofoed, 2011). The following are the various models of reflection:
There are 6 stages in the reflective model given by Gibbs (Salahuddin, 2011). The first stage is known as 'Description'. The second step is known as 'Feelings' in which an individual is able to write in detail about his thoughts. This step allows a person to reflect on how he felt during his experience. The third step is known as 'Evaluation' which encourages an individual to look objectively and evaluate the approaches that worked and those that were not effective. Then comes the analysis stage where the need on part of researcher is to be analytical. Analysis occurs by asking questions such as why, so what and what if. The next stage is called 'Conclusions'. After evaluation, one can draw conclusions about the things that happened in a situation (Walia, Bansal and Mittal, 2015). This step encourages an individual to ponder upon the situation again. The last stage is called 'Action'. In this manner, Gibbs Model helps a person to think about the way in which they deal with different situations.
Johns suggested a model for structured reflection for nursing practitioners. According to this model, Johns suggests that the nurse should look back on the experience. This model is diversified into two areas known as 'Looking in' and 'Looking out' (Ng and Sears, 2012). The 'Looking in' perspective of this models suggests to focus on self, pay attention to individual thoughts and record those thoughts that seem to be important in accomplishing the desired work. Another area, 'Looking out', involves writing a description of the situation that surrounds the thoughts and feeling of a person. The benefit of this model is that it helps an individual to identify the factors that influenced his or her actions.
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Self-reflection is significant in personal and professional development of nurses. It helps in developing skills and reviewing their effectiveness. Personal development is a lifelong process with which nurses carry out an assessment of their skills and qualities (Vinkenburg et.al., 2011). The nurses consider their aims and establish goals for maximizing their potential. Self-reflection helps these nurses in identifying their weaker areas and suggests ways for improving them. In this way, self-reflection is important for personal development of nurses.
Professional development comprises of various learning opportunities. It incorporates an evaluative stage and can be regarded as intensive and collaborative. It can be analysed that self-reflection is an important part of learning (Analoui, Doloriert and Sambrook, 2013). Nurses have the responsibility of providing care to the patients to their best potential. For this, it is important for them to focus on their abilities, skills, knowledge and behaviour. This is important so that they are able to meet the demands that this commitment makes from them. From this, it can be analysed that self-reflection is important as it helps the nurses to become aware of their skills and behaviour (Arroliga and et.al., 2014).
Nurses are constantly required to update their professional skills. For this, they need to reflect on their ongoing development. Self-reflection assists the nurses in identifying their strengths and opportunities for further development (Jooste, Kodisang and Magobe, 2014). It can be analysed that another important aspect of professional development is the ability of the nurses to interact and communicate with their colleagues. However, this can be achieved only with cooperation and mutual support. For this, it is necessary for the nursing staff to become self-aware and self-directing. Self-reflection helps in focusing on these areas.
Nurse leader is required to work in a manner that it sets a vision for the other staff. Therefore, as a nurse leader, it is required of me to introduce various characteristics from different leadership style. This needs to be based on the type of situation which I have to handle. Nurses are required to possess leadership skills in the area of communication, organizational management, and creation of vision and formulation of strategy (Hewison and Morrell, 2014). Effective strategies are required to be adopted by nurses so that they are able to manage departmental operations and inspire other staff members. I am required to manage the health information in a proper manner. Along with that I also have to manage the human resources in the form of nursing resources. Strategies need to be developed by me for creating a culture of safety and trust. I am required to develop a vision for reliable and safe care and deliver it to the other staff members. In the situation of increased workload, I will have to motivate the staff towards providing care and support to the service users. From this, it can be analysed that it will be suitable for me to use different leadership styles as per the situation.
Democratic leadership style is a good approach that is suitable to be used in the context of health and social care. This leadership invites the suggestions and opinions of all the team members. However, the final decision is taken by the leader (Gilson and et.al. 2014). In this way, the nursing staff will be engaged in the health care projects. However, in the situations when a quick decision is to be made, autocratic leadership style is suitable. I believe that autocratic leadership style can be adopted for providing clear direction to the staff. However, I have not been able to develop a vision for the followers. Therefore, I feel that a balanced leadership style, such as transformational leadership, is the most effective to be used. Being a transformational leader, it is easy to motivate people by demonstrating high emotional intelligence. This style also helps me to be self-aware which is most important for a nurse.
Reflective account can be provided by employing Gibb’s( 1988) reflective model. There was an issue at the hospital regarding the lack of training and development opportunities for staff. I was putting forward the ways in which the issue can be addressed. However, other health care staff members were present there who had contradictory views. According to them, there was no need for training opportunities. Instead of resolving, the issue got more complicated and turned into a workplace conflict. I tried to handle the situation by communicating to both the groups of staff together. But, the issue did not get resolved and had to be reported to the director of the health care organization.
I thought that communicating with both the parties at the same time would lead to an open discussion and the problem would be resolved. However, after the conflict, I felt that appropriate communication style should have been adopted while talking to the conflicting parties. Evaluation of the situation indicates that the approach of working as a mediator in the issue worked well. However, communicating with both the parties at the same time had negative impact on the situation. This communication approach did not go well in that context. Also, the style of leadership, which was democratic, was also not suitable for this type of a situation in a health care setting.
After evaluation, it can be concluded that there are different style of leadership as well as communication that works well with different people. The leadership style has to be adopted according to the situation. Democratic leadership style is suitable to be adopted in the health care setting (Kumar et.al., 2015). This is because it allows to encourage the members of health care team to give their suggestions regarding the best treatment for service users. Therefore, it helps in better decision making. However, in such situations when there is a workplace conflict, it is more suitable to adopt autocratic style of leadership. This could have been a more positive experience had I communicated with the parties individually and then a collective meeting been held. If I am faced with the same situation again, I would adopt a suitable leadership style and will effectively communicate with the conflicting parties. For this, I need to develop skills for effective leadership and communication. At the last step of the reflective account, some actions can be taken so that I am able to handle the same situation in future in a better manner. I will practice the use of autocratic leadership style with the nursing staff especially in the situations in which a quick decision is to be taken. I will also undertake training for improving communication skills so that the situation of conflicts can be handled.
There are various theories of leadership using which the strengths and weaknesses can be critically analysed. I possess the strength of appropriately using democratic leadership style at the workplace. I have learned the various skills with time. But, it can be critically evaluated that according to the Great Man Theory, effective leaders are born and not made (Clifton, 2012). McLean, (2015) also agrees that great leaders are born with distinctive traits. These traits are ionborn and cannot be learnt later (McLean, 2015). But, certain traits can be learned by leaders with experience. For example, I learned communication and delegation skills with experience. I effectively use the skills of delegating responsibilities to others so that work can be managed and efficient care and support can be provided to the service users. But, it am not able to inspire the employees towards difficult tasks. This can be understood with the help of Trait Theory. This Theory assumes that there are certain qualities due to which people are able to excel in leadership roles (Kamisan and King, 2013).
One of my strengths is that I am able to demonstrate adequate level of commitment to work. However, I lack relationship management skills which are essential for inspiring others. Therefore, I am not able to have a motivational influence on others. But, I am able to seek solution for critical and problematic situations that arise at the health care setting. Hence, I am solution – focused. But, I am not able to resolve conflict. This suggests that my communications skills are weak.
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After self-reflection, some areas for development have been identified. I need to develop effective communication skills. Also, I need to learn to develop a vision and use motivational skills to inspire the nursing staff. I also need to improve relationship management skills so that I am able to influence the behaviour of the staff. In this way, I would be able to develop their potential.
From the essay, it can be concluded that leadership is a process using which a team of people can be influenced and encouraged to achieve a set of common goals (Selznick, 2011). Leadership skills such as commitment, honesty, ability to delegate, ability to resolve conflicts, effective communication, and ability to inspire are relevant in the health and social care workplace (McLean, 2015). There are various models of reflection which can be used such Gibbs Reflective Model and Johns Reflective Model. Self-reflection is of great importance in personal and professional development of nurses. As a nurse leader, self-reflection has helped me in identifying personal and professional skills which need to be improved. I need to work on developing my communication skills and ability to inspire others. I also need to learn to use good relationship skills.
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