The Role of Leadership in the Administration of a Health Organization

Essay, 2016

8 Pages, Grade: 27/30




1. Effective Leadership
2. Leadership and Management.

1. Health care organization and Leadership challenges
2. Effective leadership: Cornerstone of successful healthcare organizations




“People are led and resources are managed”. A clear understanding of this critical and meaningful difference is the beginning of leadership wisdom that opens the way to being successful (Ledlow and Coppola, 2011). Throughout human history, leadership has been of great importance. Nowadays as ever, better leadership helps organizations survive through today’s dynamic world where the business environment is consistently changing and driven by the economic instability. Both global and domestic advances in technology, changing markets, regulatory change and fierce competition call for suitable influence from leaders to have objectives met. Organizations realize that effective leadership will provide them with a competitive superiority over rivals and the ability to carry out profound transformation to their organizations (Prosser 2010: 3).

The health care industry is a huge business, one of the most dynamic sectors driven by the economic situation. Every person in the world needs it, governments are judged on it as almost everyone is interested in how it is delivered (Swanwick and Mc Kimm 2011). It is known that better health promotes economic growth which in turn by catalyzing of the equitable distribution of wealth, leads to healthier populations (Kovacic and Lijana 2008:3). In such a sensitive sector, leadership and continuity of leadership are of great significance for the provision of effective services.

Organizing and managing healthcare delivery to meet higher standardized quality levels is a complex undertaking. Be it at the national level, local levels or at the level of individual interaction between healthcare professional and patient best knowledge of both management and leadership principles are required to navigate and successfully solve problems of cost, quality, and access to care across the continuum of care in our society. Leaders are indeed, the catalysts for organizational, group, and individual greatness. No great leaders of our time have been successful and prosperous without first understanding the principles of leadership (Ledlow and Coppola 2011; Swanwick and Mc Kimm 2011: 2).

Using analytic and documentary methods, this piece of work aims to depict effective leadership as a cornerstone of every successful healthcare organization. Although complex in its composition, successful health organizations need effective leadership and management to enable them functioning as single unit for effective better achievements.


1. Effective Leadership

Leadership is both an art and a science. Its synchronized use both as innate skills and acquired knowledge that define successful and effective leaders. As an art leadership as to do relationship, interpersonal skills, timing and tempo, power, and intuition. While referred to as technical acumen, skills calling for principles along with expertise, leadership sounds as a science that indeed need to be leaned (G. Ledlow & N. Coppola, 2011: 4). There are at least hundred definitions of leadership differing from each other as it is about leadership styles, functional leadership, situational leadership, bureaucratic leadership, charismatic leadership, servant leadership, follower leadership, group-centered leadership, and so on. It is easier to recognize than define (Winston 2012). According to James MacGregor Burns, “Leadership over human beings is exercised when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political, psychological, and other resources to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers”(MacGregor 1978: 69 cited in Winston 2012).

L eadership encompasses influencing the activities of a group and coping with change either on the structure or functioning of the organization for shared achievements (Abdul-Aziz Al-Sawai 2013:285). It do exist when someone (the leader) has given power to exercise influence over others (the followers) in a given organization. No matter whether the influence is wide-ranging or narrowly focused within formal organizations, emphasis is put on the espoused value, directions in which future of the group is directed, and the manner in which everyday tasks are accomplished (Goodwin 2006, Ledlow and Coppola 2011). One of the most important roles of leader is to set the organization vision and make it meaningful largely through clear language, actions and stories. He should provide a clear framework of understanding of the established vision and build interdisciplinary collaboration, cohesive and adaptive work teams. The more followers clearly understand and know what they have to do and why, the more they adhere to the vision for better achievements. Effective leaders need also to (Goodwin 2006; Aitken, Marshall and Chaboyer 2015).

Leadership at the unit and hospital levels is essential to ensure excellence in practice, as well as adequate clinical governance. It is about promoting the intellectual stimulation of individual staff members regardless of the setting by communicating a clear vision, motivating a team to achieve a common goal, communicating effectively with others, creating and sustaining the critical elements of a healthy work environment and implementing change and innovation. (Aitken, Marshall and Chaboyer 2015). From this point of view the effective leadership is seen as getting things done without excessive “pressure” from the manager. As management and leadership cannot be separated, successful health care leaders are those that can both empower people and effectively manage available recourses.

2. Leadership and Management.

Leadership and management are often used as overlapping concepts. However, they represent two facets of how organizations, groups or individuals set about creating change. To be successful an organization has to combine efficient management with the best of leadership processes. Leadership has to do with setting a vision for people, inspiring them and setting organizational values and strategic direction, whereas management involves directing people and resources to achieve organizational values and strategic direction established and propagated by leadership. A lack of either leadership or management makes it more difficult for an organization to experience change or progress (Swanwick and Mc Kimm, 2011). Took together, “ Good leadership and management in a healthcare organization are about providing direction to, and gaining commitment from, partners and staff, facilitating change and achieving better health services through efficient, creative and responsible deployment of people and other resources” (WHO 2007).


1. Health care organization and Leadership challenges

The difficulty when considering leadership in health is that healthcare is actually one of the most complex, costly and challenged sector of our contemporary societies. This complexity is often a result of constraints relating to different disease areas, multidirectional goals, and multidisciplinary staff. It is composed of numerous working and departments of different specialties with intricate, nonlinear interactions between them; within large organizations such as healthcare systems with numerous professional groups of different background bound do work together, there might surely be conflict between them. The leader has the responsibility to coordinate all the staff members to vibrate at the same wave so as to capitalize on that diversity and efficiently utilize resources when designing management processes and while encouraging personnel to work towards common goals (Abdul-Aziz Al-Sawai 2013).

To apply leadership principles in healthcare is a tough job since most theories were not developed within a healthcare context but were designed for the business setting and then applied to healthcare. However authors provide evidence that leadership when properly applied in the healthcare setting leads improvements in patient care and organizational outcomes. This put a special stress on the key aspects of the leadership role that of influencing group activities and coping with change (Abdul-Aziz Al-Sawai 2013)

2. Effective leadership: Cornerstone of successful healthcare organizations

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has defined high – quality care as being safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. The IOM has recommended that quality improvements be addressed on four levels: that of the patient, of health-delivery Microsystems (teams or units), of organizations that house such systems (hospitals, clinics, health systems etc.), and of the regulatory and financial environment in which those systems operate. Effective leadership is needed on all four levels to meet these aims and support a quality-driven healthcare system (Louis G. et al, 2014:161). Much of the literature agrees that leadership is important because at any level of an organization. A good leadership is an important tool in the decision-making process as it enhances the success of the organization in meeting its goals. Despite the fact that some decisions are easily solved, whereas others may call for a critical analysis, each decision made by a leader, whatever the circumstances, have consequences for human resources and the organization itself. It is subsequently worthwhile for individuals to be interested and trained in leadership in other to become well equipped to make right decision at the right time (Miller and Pellen 2006: 31, Ledlow and Coppola 2011).

As in any organization we found three main managerial levels: Lower (First-line) management, top management and middle management, an effective leadership must be embedded at every organizational level, be it at the strategic level, the service level or the frontline level to ensure that the multitude of decisions made peripherally on a daily basis in large healthcare systems add up to some concerted action aligned with the organization’s goals. Any lack of effective leadership and clear chain of command can lead to anarchy as significant decisions involving the whole organization can be made at the frontline with no regard for the organization’s overall strategy (Swanwick and Mc Kimm 2011).

Today’s world is too complex that whether in commercial business or health care, no one can pretend to know everything and do it all at the same time. As long as people are part of the equation of health systems either as workforce members or patients, leaders need to interact with other people to create leadership teams to successfully meet the common goals (Goodwin 2006). However, despite all the facts that leadership is a cornerstone of every successful healthcare organization, there is a danger that certain managers will see leadership – or possibly have already seen it – as the latest panacea, the magic solution to all of their managerial problems. These managers will be tempted to believe that things are simply taken for granted, just as the last managerial panacea they discovered. The success of every organization however, remain a crude struggle since none form of leadership can replace hard and devoted work (Goodwin 2006, Prosser 2010).


Excerpt out of 8 pages


The Role of Leadership in the Administration of a Health Organization
Health Management
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ISBN (eBook)
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role, leadership, administration, health, organization
Quote paper
Bruce Wembulua (Author), 2016, The Role of Leadership in the Administration of a Health Organization, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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