Leadership can be defined as “a process of socialinfluence, which maximises the efforts of others, towards an achievement orgoal” (Kruse,2013 p.3). This essay will discuss both situational leadershiptheory and transformational leadership theory; analysing and evaluating thesetheories, whilst comparing them against each other and with their relevancewith paramedic practice.
Both theories are relevant within practice, Situational leadership isimperative due to the everchanging situations as paramedics and for healthcare professionals.Transformational leadership is especially relevant for students as they will betransitioning from a student to a qualified paramedic, also as they learn from theirmentor’s knowledge and experiences, whilst gaining their own experience. Secondly,for the members of the crew, they must be able to work together and contributetheir own experience and knowledge to reach the end goal, which is the best treatmentfor the patient. This essay will also evaluate the leadership styles usedwithin multi-professional settings, as they are common encounters forparamedics; including an example from practice. Lastly, a discussion of my own personalleadership potential in relation to practice. One of the most recognizedleadership approaches is the situational theory. The term ‘situational’ refersto the style being transferable and can be applied to any situation.
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Somesituations will require a different leadership style or behaviour to achievethe goal or outcome. For this to occur and the leader to be an effectiveleader, they must adapt to the change in situation and how their followersreact to the situation. Thesituational theory was originally based on Reddins (1967) 3D management styletheory, and has been further developed by Hersey and Blanchard (Northouse,2016). Reddin suggested that aleader can assess the situation and identify what behaviour is most appropriateas cited in (Webdesign,2017). Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory, draws uponviews for non-routine thinking (Heresy and Blanchard, 1970). The Hersey andBlanchard leadership model, is a situational leadership model demonstratingthat there is no correct leadership style that can be used for every situationand that successful leaders must adapt their style based on their followermaturity (Staff, 2017). Situational leadership theory focuses on the types ofleader behaviour, for example, task behaviour and relationship behaviour.
Itsuggests that a leader’s task behaviour and their relationship behaviourinteract with the follower’s maturity level significantly; influencing theleader effectiveness (Blank, Green and Weitzel, 1990). Transformational leadershiptheory is “the process whereby a person engages with others, creating aconnection that increases the level of motivation and morality in the leaderand the followers” (Northouse,2016). Bass and Riggio (2006) state that this theory includes Idealizedinfluence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, andindividualized consideration (Kramer,2007). This style of leadership allowsthe leader to help their followers exceed their initial performance byencouraging changes to their norms, values, or personal interests. The leader thereforeempowers their followers, making the followers feel enabled and empoweredinstead of abandoned (Jasper and Jumaa, 2005).
This can be done by the leadersharing personal experiences and knowledge with the followers (Choi, Kim and Kang, 2017). By sharing personalmorality and experiences with their employees, their intrinsic motivation grows,and their organizational commitment increases (Tu & Lu, 2013). Transformationalleadership helps team members to think freely, enabling them to visualize thebigger picture and maintaining their commitment toward the end goal andaccomplishment of this vision (To, Tse, & Ashkanasy, 2015). It also focuseson using motivation and inspiration to improve the followers’ performance andtheir development. The leader must take in to account aspects such as standardsand emotions, and the leader can then transform their leadership style andapproach depending on the follower’s needs (Northouse, 2016).Transformational leadership is bothrelevant to paramedic practice, as well as the rest of the NHS as we areconstantly working with new people in different situations.
Jasper and Jumaa (2005),state that the use of transformational leadership empowers all professionals toreach their full potential and deliver the best service for patients. Forparamedics it is especially relevant within a constantly changing andcompetitive environment; by creating unity between the leader and follower, itimproves the service. In practice for transformational theory to be applied,the leader will engage with their crewmate and even other paramedics, to worktogether to establish a treatment plan, possibly sharing previous experiences,or motivate each other. Whereas, Situational leadership theory is relevant toparamedic practice as our situations change between jobs. Thus, as paramedics,we must be able to adapt our leadership style to overcome barriers and/or reachthe end goal; which is the best treatment for our patient. Within practice, anexample of situational leadership would be, the mentor knowing where thestudent is in their development, so that they are able to offer the correctlevel of support for them to grow and develop (Hinchliffe,2010), and decide how best to lead, whether they use a highsupportive-low directive style or high directive-low supportive. Finally,transformational theory is also relevant in terms of being a mentor, as theparamedic will engage with their student and even though they are the member ofauthority within the team, they will motivate the student for them to overcome barriersand improve their overall performance. In contrast, the use of the situationaltheory allows the leader of the situation to have control over what ishappening and allows them to change their methods or ways of leading the otherteam members within testing circumstances Emotional intelligence(maturity) is also essential in leadership, especially in situations where the leader’srole is to get others to do their jobs more effectively (Goleman, 1998)therefore linking in with transformational leadership theory.
(Goleman, 1998) statesthat in a study, 90% of their success in leadership was accountable toemotional intelligence, and for most jobs emotional competence is twice as importantas cognitive abilities. Concluding that, for someone to be a good leader, theymust be mature and show a high level of emotional intelligence and know howtheir team work. You could argue, however, that emotional intelligence is usedwithin situational leadership, with the leader needing this level of maturityto make the decision of how to proceed and lead their followers. Situational theory encompassesa directive and supportive approach, where the leader will instruct but alsosupport the team members that are lacking confidence (Northouse, 2016).Northouse, (2016) explains that directive behaviour is ordering the followerwhat to do and how to do it, whereas, supportive behaviour shows two-waycommunication between the leader and follower. Delegative approach is alsoincluded in situational leadership, it provides the team members with jobs andindividual goals. For this to be effective, and to determine what is needed ina situation, the leader must assess the competence of their followers andadjust their approach either more supportively or more directive, (Northouse,2016). Whereas transformational theory, is more about promoting innovativeproblem solving and bettering the overall team performance (Aryee et al.
, 2012),it therefore encourages team members to be innovative and goal focused, consequentlycontributing to team effectiveness (Braun et al., 2013; To et al., 2015). Thisis done through motivating the team and understanding their follower’scapabilities, level of motivation and commitment. Using intrinsic motivationhas positive effects on team effectiveness and therefore the outcome, the teamconsider themselves as a single body and share their understanding of worktasks; and how best to complete these with each other, creating a supportiveenvironment and articulating innovative ideas throughout the task, increasesthe team’s overall effectiveness (Aryee et al., 2012).
According to NorthouseAV1 , (2016), Bass and Riggio (2006),suggests the reason that transformational leadership is so popular is becauseof its emphasis on intrinsic motivation and follower development, fitting theneeds of today’s workers. Today’s workers, want to be inspired and empoweredfor them to succeed especially in times of uncertainty. The recent book of Bassand Riggio (2006) titled “transformational leadership”, shows evidence thattransformational leaders have more satisfied subordinates than non-transformationalleaders, suggesting that the followers feel more valued and involved. On theother hand, Kramer, (2007) JuxtaposesAV2 this,they explain that based on Bass and Riggio (2006), transformational leadershiphas no definitive link with causing organizational change, however, charismaticleadership shows a link with change, the authors, suggest that this is down toa lack in information (Kramer, 2007). One would agree, as there is not enoughevidence to make this decision. The greatest benefit ofsituational leadership is Unlike the trait theory, and contingency theory,which both demonstrate a fixed style for the leader, the situational theory hasbounds of flexibility for the leader and the followers to be moulded within a situation.Allowing them to move along the development continuum, improving the followerand the leader’s leadership qualities (Northouse, 2016).
For example, If thefollower is competent but lacks confidence, the leader may adapt their approachinto a more of a coaching manner, to guide them in the right direction withoutshowing authority, On the other hand, if they lack competence but notconfidence, the leader may use a high directive, but low supportive style,where they instruct them what to do and just observe whilst they do it (Northouse,2016). It can also be argued that transformational leadership includes an elementof flexibly as it is centred around motivation and gaining the best outcome,there is not a rigid structure to achieve this. On the other hand, Situationalleadership theory has some negatives For example; there is an element ofambiguity between the assessing the follower’s development level and theircommitment level, it is consequently hard to determine the relationship betweencommitment, competency and the levels of development shown by the Hersey and Blanchard model, ascited by Northouse, (2016) Blanchard also states that a follower’s commitmentis made up of confidence and motivation, but it is uncertain how these toadd to equal commitment.
An example of the leadershipstyles witnessed within a multi-professional setting during practice is an RTC(Road Traffic Collision). In this scenario, there were paramedics, fire serviceand police on scene. The team leader of the fire service made it apparent hewas in charge by using situational leadership, but an authoritative approachwhereby he ordered his team. This created a controlled environment with everymember of that team knowing what to do. The paramedics, also used situationalleadership, but used a delegative approach, where they would give each otherjobs in order to be more efficient, and when appropriate, used a directiveapproach and this created one definitive leader, for example, the extraction ofthe patient from the vehicle; the person whether it be a paramedic or fireservice (in this case, a paramedic) used his authority to lead the extraction,controlling everyone from the head end, providing controlled movement and thebest outcome for the patient; and he therefore at this time used situationalleadership theory and adjusted his leadership style to authoritarian approach.
Theparamedic used a high directive-high supportive approach towards his student,this meant that they knew what was asked of them and the instructions wereclear, this was also the students first RTC, so the support meant that theyfelt more confident and this meant that their performance was enhanced. Thiswas also done by using transformational theory, encouraging the student, andmaking them feel confident enough to do the jobs asked.As astudent paramedic, there are limited leadership opportunities. Saying this,there are ways one can improve their leadership potential whilst training andonce qualified. For example, taking lead where possible; this will help developthe student’s leadership style and confidence. Once qualified, using aparticipative style and a democratic approach, would allow the team to beinvolved in decision making, allowing them to give their opinions on treatmentplans.
Creating an environment where followers, whether they are students orcrew members, feel able to express their thoughts. This creates a relaxedenvironment, and improves the team’s effectiveness. Which overall will achievebetter care of the patient. A delegative style can be used to improveeffectiveness. Where appropriate, using elements of autocratic leadershipdepending on the situation, which is where situational leadership comes intoplay. In conclusion, situationalleadership theory, resembles a leader who is adaptable and ready for change,this theory can be used in conjunction with transformational theory. This is dueto situational theory representing that there is no best or only one style touse. Situational leadership has great involvement in practice, for example; theleader needs to adaptable.
however,the leadership styles used within this (democratic and authoritarian) are notalways the best approach. Therefore, transformational leadership should be usedwith conjunction where possible, using motivation, and supportive behaviour asthis has shown to give the best results. This leader, understands their followersand knows how they work best.
Finally, it is wise to think that a good leaderwill also have a high level of emotional intelligence. This is also relevant topractice due to the things we experience and the level of responsibility we have