Definition of Leadership Through the Dominant Leadership Theories in the Research
Leadership is an essential element of society. Whenever any type or form of society exists, leadership is fundamental. Leadership refers to the process through which a person mobilizes people and resources to achieve a shared vision or desired goal (Barr & Dowding, 2019). According to Barr and Dowding, leaders inspire, motivate, challenge, and encourage their followers. Sfantou et al. (2017) concurringly elucidate that leadership entails persuading and influencing others while showing resilience and persistence. Leaders focus on the big picture, whereby they motivate their followers to aspire to achieve the vision of what could be by making them believe it is possible. Bottom line, leadership is a relationship between those who inspire and provide direction (leaders) and the followers, whose role providing their input and commitment to achieve the desired goal.
Personal Experience that Informed My Thoughts about Healthcare Leaders Through the Lens of the Research
Having worked in the health care industry for a few years and being a beneficiary of the health care system my entire life, I have experienced various eye-opening events that have shaped my perspective about health care leaders. As a beneficiary of the healthcare system, I have seen the sector undergo many reforms to promote the efficient delivery of high-quality, effective, and safe care. The health care system is characterized by constant reforms geared towards improving the quality and accessibility of care and minimizing the cost of care to promote much-needed efficiency (Sfantou et al., 2017). Indeed, health care leaders are necessary to lead the changes effectively. On the other hand, working in the health care sector has allowed me to see the rationale of effective leadership in all of the healthcare system’s levels. Leaders in the health care sector not only implement necessary reforms but also inspire and motivate health care workers to strive towards optimal performance and, as such, facilitate enhanced patient outcomes. Thus, leadership is essential to the success of the healthcare sector. The sector needs effective leaders to lead and drive necessary reforms at all levels of the system to ensure quality provision of medical care and optimal patient outcomes.
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Traits of an Authentic Leader Through the Lens of the Research
Authentic leadership is undergirded by the philosophy that leaders can demonstrate their legitimacy by cultivating sincere relationships with their followers and involving them in the decision-making process by giving importance to their input. According to Malila, Lunkka, and Suhonen (2018), an authentic leader encourages their followers to embrace openness in a manner that promotes both individual and team performances. Key traits defining authentic leaders include self-awareness, solid values, the ability to establish robust and meaningful relationships, self-discipline, and leading with the heart (Makhmoor, 2018). Thus, authentic leadership is based on an individual’s character as opposed to their style.
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Authentic leaders have a strong sense of self-awareness which gives them an understanding of their purpose. They also ensure that a well-established set of values and principles inform their behavior and decisions. Notably, authentic leaders understand that they are not perfect and do not try to be. As a result, they admit when they make mistakes and make sure to learn from their errors. Additionally, they are considerate of other people’s needs, allowing them to develop and maintain meaningful relationships. Moreover, they match their behavior to their context, which allows them to uphold self-discipline and lead with their hearts (Makhmoor, 2018). These traits enable authentic leaders to be genuine.
Exercise to Aid in the Development of the Skills/Habits of an Authentic Leader
An exercise that can help one develop the skills/habits of an authentic leader is introspection. The process entails self-analysis, whose objective is to look inwards to facilitate self-awareness. To develop the traits of an authentic leader, one must examine different aspects, including their feelings, behaviors, and attributes. The reflective process facilitates the development of self-awareness, leading to self-consciousness (Chon & Sitkin, 2021). With improved self-consciousness, one can effectively enhance the understanding of their purpose, establish connected relationships, practice solid values, demonstrate self-discipline, and lead with the heart. Thus, introspection can help an individual develop the skills/habits that characterize an authentic leader.
There are various benefits associated with introspection. First, it will allow a leader to ensure that their behavior matches their context precisely in terms of values and principles that inform their approach to leadership. Secondly, self-awareness will enable one to become sensitive to other people’s emotions and, as a result, develop meaningful relationships. Thirdly, introspection allows a person to constantly grow since it facilitates an ongoing enhancement of emotional intelligence. Lastly, the self-awareness developed from the introspection process allows a person to understand their purpose. As a result, their leadership approach becomes genuine since it is based on their character instead of style, which makes it genuine (Chon & Sitkin, 2021).