Leadership and management are essential skills for all healthcare professionals and have a pivotal role in delivery of high-quality care. Delivering quality patient care in an era of a critical nursing workforce transition (an aging nursing workforce, increasing retirement of nurse leaders, along with actual and projected nursing shortages) may require unique and adaptive leadership skills to address the problem (McCay, Lyles & Larkey, 2018). A good leader should have working knowledge about conflict resolution, cultural diversity and employment laws. To be successful, the leader must diagnose the situation and select appropriate strategies from a large repertoire of skills (Marquis & Huston, 2017, p.49). The effectiveness of leadership depends on the style of leadership that the leader adopts.Leadership and DelegationIn leadership there are three types of styles. Authoritarian, Democratic and Laissez-faire. Authoritarian leadership results in high productivity of well-defined group actions reducing frustration in the work group while giving members a feeling of security. Democratic leadership is appropriate for groups who work together for extended periods, promotes autonomy and growth in individual workers. Laissez-faire leadership is appropriate when problems are poorly defined and brainstorming is needed to generate alternative solution (Marquis &Huston,2017, p. 47-48). According to M. McFadden (personal communication, April 2, 2019), democratic leadership is being an active listener and empathetic. Making your staff feel valuable, having an open-door policy and allowing staff to offer feed back promotes a healthy work environment. Leadership is a skill extremely necessary and required from nurses to influence their teams to provide nursing care that meets the expectations of patients and families (Balsanelli, David & Ferrari, 2018). Delegation has long been a function of registered nursing, although the scope of delegation and the tasks being delegated have changed drastically the past three decades with the increased use of unlicensed personnel in acute care settings. Delegation can be defined as getting work done through others (Marquis & Huston, 2017, p.524-525). You’re entrusting someone else to complete a task, a task that maybe critical to patient care. Delegation requires highly developed leadership skills such as sensitivity to subordinates’ capabilities and needs, the ability to communicate clearly and directly, the willingness to support and encourage subordinates in carrying out delegated tasks, and the vision to see how delegation might result in increased personal growth for subordinates as well as increased unit productivity (Marquis & Huston, 2017, p. 541). As the work load increases, more tasks will be delegated, increasing the opportunity for resistance. Delegation isn’t always easy, and management may meet some resistance. Delegation resistance is handled by establishing a firm priority system, include instructions and deadlines and verify completion of what was delegated. Effective communication and motivation may also help avoid resistance (M. McFadden, personal communication, April 2, 2019). Delegation is a skill that improves with practice. Managers gain maturity and self- confidence to delegate wisely while increasing the subordinate’s self-esteem and job satisfaction from the responsibility and authority given to them moving the organization closer to the desired goal (Marquis & Huston, 2017, p. 530).Teamwork and Conflict ResolutionNursing consists of a numerous group of professionals whose actions are developed within a collective environment, being performed by work teams collaborating their efforts while ensuring continuity of nursing care for patients. Establishing a functional working team is beneficial for the organization as well as the patients that are served. A leader can build teamwork and collaboration among team members by communicating expectations, establishing team goals and by fostering cohesion between team members (M. Mc Fadden, personal communication, April 2, 2017). When building a team, the leader must ask what impacts staff satisfaction and retention and how conflict resolution will be handled. Team work impacts staff satisfaction and retention because it shows unity. It shows that the workplace is supportive which influences both job satisfaction and retention (M. McFadden, personal communication, April 2,2019). Conflict is created when there are differences in economic and professional values and when there is competition among professionals. Conflict is neither good nor bad, and it can produce growth or destruction, depending on how it is handled. The leader’s role is to create a work environment where conflict may be used as a conduit for growth, innovation and productivity (Marquis &Huston, 2017, p.552). The ability to recognize, understand and deal with conflict head on is a critical skill every leader should possess. This skill can help in resolving conflict quickly and appropriately (M.McFadden, personal communication, April 2, 2019). Normally when we think of conflict, when we describe it, there’s always two sides. But what we don’t often see is that there’s always a third side, and the third side of the conflict is us, it’s the surrounding community, it’s the friends, the allies, the family members, the neighbors. Perhaps the most fundamental way in which the third side can help is to remind the parties of what’s really at stake. The secret to peace is the third side (Ury, 2010). Cultural Diversity and Employment Laws Cultural diversity is an increasingly important characteristic of the work force. The culture of individuals or groups of workers has a powerful influence on how they receive and process information, their approach to work and productivity, their health and safety, and how they seek information and care. The increase in multicultural interactions in healthcare has made care provision more complicated. The call for patient-centered care, which must incorporate cultural needs and respect for patient wishes; providers must work on becoming “culturally competent” (Ong-Flaherty, 2015). A culturally diverse workforce can impact patient care by causing challenges with communication ad cultural experiences. Adaptability, flexibility and problem solving can also impact cultural diversity in the work place (M. McFadden, personal communication, April 2, 2019). Increasing multiculturalism in our society poses the challenge of how healthcare providers are to meet the expectations of providing patient-centered care. Incidences of cultural insensitivity have consequences in patient outcomes. Nursing and healthcare leaders must be willing to put in the investment if true cultural inclusivity is to occur (Ong-Flaherty, 2015). Cultural awareness and diversity go hand-in-hand; solutions for one must include the other. Collective bargaining, unionization and employment laws significantly influence the directing phase of the management process and may impact management effectiveness. Collective bargaining involves activities occurring between organized labor and management that concern employee relations (Marquis & Huston, 2017, p.581). As a leader, keeping informed of past and current employment laws is paramount in leadership. Some major employment laws that leaders should know about are workplace safety, military & family leave, disability discrimination and age discrimination (M. McFadden, personal communication, April 2, 2019). Although some legislation makes the job of managing people more difficult, it has resulted in increased job fairness and opportunities for women, minorities, older adults and individuals with disabilities. Creating a climate in which labor and management can work together to accomplish mutual goals is possible (Marquis & Huston, 2017, p.605). Conclusion Many leaders exist within healthcare, all with different types of leadership styles. Leaders often relate to organizational, political, religious, personal, or social causes. Regardless of the environment, a leader is someone who can persuade, motivate, and inspire a group of people or individuals into sharing the same beliefs, values, and work ethic to achieve a common goal. A leader must be fair and have integrity and do what they say and say what they mean while treating others the way that they would like to be treated. Leadership in nursing is crucial in the health care system. In order to have effective leadership you have to have an effective leader.
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