What is Leadership?

Leadership is getting a group of people to enact a vision of what needs to be accomplished. Thus, according to O’Neil (1999), leadership starts with a vision, and requires relationships with others to accomplish tasks. Although leadership and management are often used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. A leader influences the opinions and attitudes of others to accomplish a shared goal. A manager, on the other hand, is primarily an administrator, who makes sure that people and processes are in place to achieve the desired goal. Managers need to be able to plan, budget, organize, and solve problems, to keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly.

Patrick Sullivan is the new head of Anatomic Pathology section of my laboratory on the telemetry floor at Southside hospital. This section incorporates the following units: histopathology, cytopathology, and electron microscopy. The units comprise of a highly motivated and knowledgeable staff that work day and night in order to deliver the best and most accurate and fragile assessments, results, and research. Patrick was appointed for his leadership skills and vision that promise to enhance the leadership know-how of all personnel within the units, and thus develop and achieve shared goals that will eventually reflect positively and further empower all the nurses and employees.

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After observing Patrick for a period of 6 months, I have come to notice that although he had some tremendous potentials and expertise before his designation as a leader, he is brilliant in communicating with all the staff, profoundly acknowledges his responsibility, effectively sets goals with specific timeline for completion, knows the strengths and weaknesses of all employees, and most importantly evaluates his own progress and the progress of all the employees on the units for best feedback.

Patrick implements the four situational leadership styles upon his units. The four situational leadership styles were first proposed by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hershey (1972). They envisaged leadership styles according to an enduring range of directive and supportive behavior. Directive behavior comprises of plainly telling employees what should be done, how it should be done, and when it should be done, and then strictly observing the attitude and performance. Supportive behavior entails listening to employees, supplying support and back-up, and then allowing their participation in problem solving and executive tasks (Goleman, 1995). The four leadership styles are illustrated as follows:

Directing: This style highlights the task itself and focuses less on relationships. When the employee being managed is not fully qualified or not adequately motivated to perform a task separately, then one is required to inform him or her exactly how each step operates. For example, Patrick might apply this method with the technician who has just begun working in the lab and is required to acquire an essential procedure.

Coaching: This style underscores both task and interaction. A leader would maintain on guiding the performance of the individual he is managing, but moreover slowly explains decisions, seek proposals, and aid the person’s professional growth.

Supporting: This style strongly highlights relationship. A leader would help people attain a given assignment and share liability for administrative decisions with them.

Delegating: This style sets a low emphasis on both task and interaction. A leader would assign accountability for executive decisions and analyses to a person who has become more autonomous.

Through these four leadership style, Patrick has shown a great aptitude of running the section quite successfully and efficiently. Nevertheless, I would keep on encouraging and recommending him to put a grand emphasis and endeavor on getting to employ relationship-based approaches all through the units.

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