Developing Leadership Skills
For the purpose of this assignment I shall focus on an issue within my workplace whereby my leadership skills presented as a focus point. My job involves working as a team leader for a busy community nursing service within a well populated urban area. The team comprises of a varied skill mix ranging from band 3 to band 6, some who are relatively new to the environment and others who have many years experience.
In recent years there has been a rapid increase in the complexity of our caseload, as a team leader it became clear to me that the implementation of clinical supervision would be beneficial in empowering and supporting our staff by helping them to develop the skills necessary to effectively manage and cope with the demanding situations we currently face such as working in isolation, rapid role expansion and increasing professional responsibility and also emotional involvement with patients and carers.
Butterworth and Faugier (1992) concisely explain clinical supervision as an activity that facilitates reflective practice, enabling nurses to question and evaluate their practice, supporting each other through listening and exploring options and possibilities for coping and developing both within themselves and patient care. As team lead and as someone who is keen to develop as a leader I nominated myself to implement this change. By implementing clinical supervision I seek to improve staff engagement, promote confidence and identify training needs with a view to improving staff relations and increasing professionalism.
Hannagan (1995) advocates leadership as the process of motivating other people to act in particular ways to achieve specific goals by a variety of means that denote leadership styles. This assignment will endeavor to critically analyse and reflect upon the development of my skills as a leader within the context of my work whilst exploring various leadership styles and linking the leadership theories to my practice. The paper will highlight my vision as a leader which I aim to fulfill over a 6-9 month time period.
This will lead to identification of my goals relative to my vision and provide an action plan for each goal to outlining what I plan to do to achieve my goals, which will be followed by a rationale for each plan. I will also focus on my strengths and the opportunities available to me as a leader and the threats which exist to weaken my ability to lead. To do this I will complete a SWOT analysis which is included in the appendices. Well thought out introduction Vision
My vision is to develop my interpersonal skills in my current role as a team leader. I aim to do this by using communication effectively whilst working collaboratively with the team to implement clinical supervision to improve staff engagement and increase professionalism. I will endeavor to achieve this by using my perception, judgement and skill to successfully motivate and empower people throughout the implementation whilst identifying any barriers to change and managing any conflict that may arise.
This will begin my journey to becoming a more effective leader in my role by working in partnership with the team and placing me in a more prominent position to influence the successful development of staff whilst ensuring that professional standards are maintained. Goals 1. To develop my interpersonal skills in leadership by working collaboratively with the team to successfully implement clinical supervision in my work area. 2. To expand my skills as a leader by identifying barriers to change and deal with any conflict that may arise. 3.
To develop my skills in motivation and empowerment, including self motivation to develop a plan of how to be a better leader for the future. Good, these goals are realistic and achievable Goal 1: To develop my interpersonal skills in leadership by working collaboratively with the team to successfully implement clinical supervision in my work area. | Area for development| Action | Resource required| By what date| Success criteria| I need to develop my leadership skills and knowledge in implementing change by using my interpersonal skills to liaise with staff to identify how they feel about implementing clinical supervision n the team. | Attend the clinical supervision study day for staff and familiarize myself with the clinical supervision trust policy to ensure I have up to date knowledge.
Study time to attend the study day and time to read the policy. Read books about how to conduct clinical supervision. This will enhance my understanding of how to conduct supervision myself. | Beginning of November 2010 (within three weeks)| Successful implementation of clinical supervision by supervising 2 members of staff, received positive verbal feedback. Enhanced knowledge of clinical supervision process. | Identify why clinical supervision is not already implemented. To interview staff individually to find out their opinions on clinical supervision and how they feel about it.
Time to speak to each member of the team (10 in total). Emotional intelligence skills. | By middle of November 2010 (within five weeks)| Achieved:Met with all members of staff individually. Results of fact finding of the current supervision process within the team. | | Propose my plans to my manager for approval/buy in. | Knowledge of leadership styles and approaches. Time to write proposed plan and meet with my manager to discuss. Before end of November 2010| Achieved: My manager approved the plan. | Very good Rationale To develop as a leader and achieve my goal I appreciate that working collaboratively with my team, whilst introducing clinical supervision is paramount.
According to Sullivan and Garland (2010) teams are real groups in which individuals must work cooperatively with each other in order to achieve some overarching goal, teams demonstrate healthy interdependence. To begin my implementation of change I attended the training day for clinical supervision and familiarized myself with the trust policy and guidelines surrounding the subject.
Once I achieved this I set about organizing to meet individually with team members for a brief chat to get their opinions on the proposed change. In my initial enthusiasm to ensure a contemporary approach to change I was keen to adopt a transformational leadership style which emphasizes the importance of interpersonal relationships (Ward, 2002) and focuses on the processes that motivate followers to perform their full potential by influencing change and providing a sense of direction (Cook, 2001).
Good but watch your paragraph construction However due to some ifficulties experienced in getting staff to commit to the initial individual meetings it became apparent that at this stage I would need to adopt an autocratic approach to achieve the target I had set myself to meet with people in the necessary time frame. Although I agree that autocratic leadership gets things done quickly I do not feel that it would have been beneficial to apply it throughout the implementation as this style can tend to de-motivate teams as it does not provide scope for consideration of their ideas, opinions and needs (Faugier, 2002).
Autocratic leaders generally state the end goal and do not allow participation in decision making (Sullivan and Garland, 2010). Other styles such as bureaucratic which sticks rigidly to rules, policies and procedures and laissez faire whereby the leader largely leaves staff to their own devices to achieve the goal (Faugier, 2002) were also not considered conducive to my situation as I felt they may reduce creativity and innovation amongst staff and would not provide opportunity for me to build upon my interpersonal skills.
Faugier, (2002) suggests that effective leaders do not stick to one leadership style all the time and different leadership styles will need to be adopted to complement the development needed good. It became evident to me that sticking rigidly to one leadership style is not favorable to been an effective leader, it would be more appropriate to apply situational leadership which allows the leader to switch between different leadership styles according to the situation and depending on the competence of followers (Faugier and Woolnough, 2002). Good discussion showing understanding of your leadership approach.
The aim of having one to one chats with staff was undertaken with a transformational approach in mind, I was keen to become more proficient in my use of emotional intelligence to enable me to identify how staff actually felt about implementing the change and how this may affect their reasoning in engaging in the change process. Akerjordet and Severinsson (2010) perceive emotional intelligence as the ability to recognise the relationship between emotion and reason and advocate that when used from a nursing leadership perspective can be used to promote positive teamwork and increase levels of self efficacy.
Once I gained the necessary information from the meetings I drafted a proposal and met with my manager to gain advice and approval. I was also keen to discover if clinical supervision had previously been implemented or if there was currently any form of supervision already in place, having spoken to my colleagues and manager I determined that this was not the case and I would not be encroaching on another persons work. My manager was supportive about my plan however she was quite resolute that although I am keen to work with ideas from the team, I should also adhere to trust policy and guidelines.
Fauggier (2002) highlights the issue of tension between transformational leadership theory and putting it into practice in an environment where management and performance indicators dominate. Transactional leadership is most concerned with managing predictability and order and generally meets the needs of followers by using reward and punishment to enhance loyalty and performance (Sullivan and Garland, 2010). I am aware that at times I leaned towards transactional leadership especially to ensure that I was adhering to trust policy and procedure.
Goal 2: To expand my skills as a leader by identifying barriers to change and deal effectively with any conflict that may arise. | Area for development| Action | Resource required| By what date| Success criteria| Improve my ability in identifying barriers to change and dealing with them effectively. Develop my skills in identifying conflict and resolving it.
Organize meetings to communicate with staff to identify why they are resistant to change| Time, meeting room, organizational skill to arrange further meetings. | During the first week of December 2010| Achieved:Held a meeting with high attendance and positive feedback. | Identify any tools required to break down barriers and implement change. | Literature about change strategies and theories to improve on knowledge.
Empower staff by providing information about clinical supervision and making them aware of how it will benefit practice. | Read information and literature about clinical supervision. Use of library facilities. Time, motivational skills| 1-2 monthsAt themeeting in first week of December. Achieved:Gained deeper understanding in the principles of dealing with conflict. Made a presentation to staff about clinical supervision and received positive verbal feedback| Rationale: In order to develop my leadership skills whilst implementing change I was keen firstly to identify barriers to change and also to be aware of any conflict that may arise and deal with it effectively. Having read around the subject of change I felt it prudent to identify any barriers to change and apply a model of change to deal with these issues.
Buonocore (2004) suggests that no matter how well planned a change is, there will always be some resistance and Curtis and White (2002) maintain that change without resistance is no change at all. Lewin (1951) argues that it is easier to remove resisting forces than it is to generate more driving forces. When I examined the implementation of clinical supervision in relation to Lewins force-field analysis one of the main drivers is the increased engagement amongst staff and an improved structure of guidance and support for the nurses.
In papers such as Our NHS Our Future the Darzi report identified key factors in areas for improvement included recognising the aim of clinical supervision to identify training needs and promote confidence leading to quality care and reducing avoidable harm to patients (DH, 2008). NICE (2007) underline a number of factors that may cause barriers to change including lack of awareness and knowledge of a subject, lack of motivation, an individuals acceptance and beliefs, skills and practical barriers such as lack of resources.
In my leadership role I was apprehensive about dealing with resistance and any conflict which could arise, Sullivan and Garland (2010) suggest that although conflict is difficult to define it could result from the real or perceived differences in goals, values, ideas attitudes, beliefs or feelings. In order to introduce the change, I implemented Roger’s (1983) five steps diffusion of innovation which includes knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation.
I felt that as Lewin’s model focuses on situational change whereas Roger’s theory of change is more suitable to new ways of working such as the innovation of clinical supervision. To achieve the first step of Roger’s model I arranged a meeting with staff where I made a short presentation about clinical supervision and how it could benefit our practice in order increase awareness around the subject of clinical supervision.
Following this we had a brainstorming session to discuss any issues and feelings which may present as barriers to change or cause conflict. In order to facilitate high performance I also tilized Tuckman’s (1977) stage model of team development which includes the five stages of forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning, the model implicates that teams pass through several developmental stages prior to effective performance. In the storming and persuasion stage we identified various concerns such as some staff felt that clinical supervision is a way for managers to control her time and highlight her mistakes, others felt that it due to complex caseloads it would be added work to their load and some felt that we would simply not have time to do it, and another experienced nurse felt that it was simply not necessary.
We were then able to discuss in-depth the advantages of clinical supervision to our practice and also to our patients, by the end of the storming stage through verbal feedback I could establish that people felt more confident and barriers overcome. The norming stage allowed us to make decisions, identify roles, delegate and for me to share what I expect from everyone. We are now at the performing stage of implementation, I am quite confident that I have been successful in motivating and empowering my team, however this will be more effectively measured at the adjourning stage.