Leadership involves more than being the head of a team, and it is very important that an
individual must know and understand their roles in their leadership position regardless of the
organization or the type of work they do. Any setup in which there are more than two people
operating as a team has a leader and the roles of these leaders may not be so clear cut as they are
mandated with making tough decisions which affect the performance of the entire team. In the
healthcare sector, there are those nurses and doctors who will be in leadership positions and they
are mandated in making decisions which have benefits to the entire hospital setup and the
healthcare as a whole ( Al-Sawai, 2013). They determine how different activities will be handled
within the healthcare sector and they make decisions on the way forward in terms of
management of diseases and patients. Ethical dilemmas are also very important part of the
leadership in healthcare since they determine how different ethical issues are dealt with and the
protocol of orders in the way different issues affecting this sector are handled.

Leadership in Healthcare

          There are many challenges in the leadership styles in the healthcare industry because
most of the management and leadership styles were not tailor made for the healthcare sector but
for the business and corporate world and they were then introduced in the healthcare industry.
This means that the leadership theories in use today are not really meant for the healthcare
industry and it becomes difficult to manage issues using the corporate leadership theories that are
there today because healthcare is comprised of different departments and arms which require to
be well managed in order to remove the complications existing in the departmental ranks. It is
important to note that leadership styles which are there in the business world may not be so
effective in the management or leadership of the healthcare industry because they sometimes
involve a lot of red tape while this may not be possible where some decisions on complicated
issues in the organization may require immediate decisions. Recently, many scholars have
focused on the issue of leadership in the health sector and several models have been designed
which favor certain circumstances in the industry (Mann, 2011).
            This essay, besides discussing different leadership theories in the healthcare industry,
discusses the most appropriate leadership theories for old people in hospices. Some of the basic
leadership qualities that an individual in the leadership of a healthcare system should have
include compassionate care for the benefit of patients, high quality service care to the patients
and the need for employees to be united in the bid to give satisfaction to patient (Van, 2010).
This is the general overview of the best qualities for a leader in the healthcare industry who takes
the motive of their job seriously.

Heroic Leadership

Heroic leadership has been confused with transactional leadership for a long time since
its inception by Burns in 1978. However, According to Cohen, heroic leadership involves a
leader ensuring that things are done according to the mission and intended purpose of an
objective but still the leader inspires his workers or those individuals below him and all followers
of the leader in a personal or individual capacity so that all individuals are focused towards the
attainment of the exact mission without having to be supervised or superintended over by the
leadership of the organization ( Al-Sawai, 2013). The military is given as the best example of
heroic leadership in which the senior leaders in the military instill in the military men a sense of
completion of the mission and all follow with the focus on the mission. There are several laws
that govern heroic leadership beginning with the need for integrity and honesty.
          The question of the personal characteristics of an individual in leadership positions is
very important. A leader is someone who is able to manage his own undertakings effectively and
who is able to deal with his or her internal conflicts to the point that other people can follow and
emulate the actions of that individual (Bolman et al, 2003).

Theories of Leadership

         The most common theories include transformation and transactional theories which have
been mentioned earlier in this essay. Transactional theory of leadership is more authoritarian and
bureaucratic. It gives the leader absolute power over the followers so that the leader makes
decisions and enforces those decisions without the followers having a chance to question the
activities they are required to do (Harrison, 1999). The leader has qualities which thus separate him or she from the followers and minimal interaction between the leader and the followers is experienced.

       The theory gives leaders the power to make orders and assign duties to the followers,
who in this case are employees, and they are expected to work under supervision and according
to a certain code of conduct which they cannot go against even though the procedure may be
biased(Manion, 2005). This cannot work well in a hospital setting or for matters of healthcare
because issues that arise in healthcare are dynamic and decisions are required to be dynamic and
authoritarianism would not be for any benefits (Garman et al, 2010). For instance, even though a
patient may be scheduled for a certain therapeutic procedure at a certain time, it would not be
possible to wait until the time assigned comes if the patient developed complications regardless
of the rules set in that unit(Lavis, 2005)

Transformational theory

           Transformational theory, on the other hand, is more liberal and does not stick to rules and
regulation so much and allow the dynamism that is expected in the hospital setting. It is
necessary to understand that although the transformation theory is an extension of the heroic
leadership styles, it does not require that individuals are constantly supervised in order for them
to complete their duties according to the expectations rather that leaders expect that individuals
in a department are knowledgeable on their roles in the workplace and hence allow them to work
towards the mission as long as they understand the mission (Atchison, 2001). An example in the
renal unit is that a dialysis scheduled for the next day can be shifted so that the patient received
immediate attention while another patient whose condition may not be critical is moved to the
second day because some circumstances in the health of the individual may not allow the patient
to wait.


         There are several ways by which most of the existing business leadership skills can be
used in the management of a healthcare department, but the most important issue to understand
when it comes to leadership in the healthcare sector is the need for leaders to understand the
mission of the system and to ensure that leadership strategies employed so not have the slightest
potential to affect how the achievement of that mission is handled. Transformational leadership
theory is more beneficial in the creation of a perfect health leadership model because it is more
liberal and flexible and allows leaders to make decisions which are dynamic and accommodate
any circumstantial occurrences which could affet how a mission is attained.


Garman AN, Brinkmeyer L, Gentry D, Butler P, Fine D. Healthcare leadership ‘outliers’: An
analysis of Senior administrators from the top U.S. hospitals. J Health Adm Educ
Collins D, Holton E. The effectiveness of managerial leadership development programs: a metaanalysis of studies from 1982 to 2001. Hum Resour Dev Q 2004;15(2):217-248
Bolman LG, Deal TE. Reframing leadership. Business leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass;
2003. p. 86-110.
Weick KE, Sutcliffe KM. Mindfulness and the quality of organizational attention. Organ Sci
2006;17(4):514-526. July/August.10.1287/orsc.1060.0196
Chen, Jui-chen, Leadership effectiveness, leadership style and employee redness. Leadership and
organization development journal, v26, no 4, 2005, page 280-288(9).
Lavis JN, Davies HT, Oxman A, Denis JL, Golden-Biddle K, Ferlie E. Towards systematic
reviews that inform health care management and policy-making. J Health Serv Res
Policy 2005. Jul;10(Suppl 1):35-48 10.1258/1355819054308549
Atchison TA, Bujak JS. Leading transformational change: the physician-executive Partnership.
Chicago: Health Administration Press; 2001.
Manion J. From management to leadership: practical strategies for healthcare leaders.2nd ed. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2005.
Harrison B. The nature of leadership: historical perspectives & the future. J Calif Law
Enforcement 1999;33(1):24-31
Leadership in Health sector 8
Greig G, Entwistle VA, Beech N. Addressing complex healthcare problems in diverse settings:
insights from activity theory. Soc Sci Med 2012. Feb;74(3):305-312
Resource Development Quarterly. 2004; 15(2):217-48.
Henry JD Jr, Gilkey RW. Growing effective leadership in new organizations. In: Gilkey RW,
editor. The 21st century healthcare leader. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 1999.p. 101–10.
Jeffrey Braithwaite, L (H), “Editorial”, Leadership in Health Services, 2008, vol: 21, issue1, 8-
Kotter JP. What leaders really do? Business leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2003.p. 29–
Garman, A. N. “Evidence update: Linking leadership Practices to organizational outcomes.”
Presentation To the NCHL Leadership Excellence Networks web meeting, October 21,
Wiseman L, McKeown G. Multipliers: how the best leaders make everyone smarter. New York:
Harper Collins. Garman, A. N. “Evidence update: Linking leadership Practices to
organizational outcomes.” Presentation to the NCHL Leadership Excellence Networks
web meeting, October 21, 2011.
VanVactor JD. Collaborative communications: a case study within the U.S. Army medical
logistics community. Saarbrucken, GE: VDM Publishers; 2010.
Mann S. Unleashing your leadership potential: seven strategies for success leadership and
organization development,2011, vol 32, iss 8.p 855-56.
Leadership in Health sector 9
Garman, A. N., McAlearney, A. S., Harrison, M. I., Song, P.H., & McHugh, M. Highperformance work Systems in health care management, part 1: development Of an
evidence-informed model. Health Care Management Review, 2011.36(3), 201-213.
Bossidy L, Charan R. Execution: the discipline of getting things done. New York: Crown
Business; 2002.
Calhoun JG, Dollett L, Sinioris ME, Wainio JA, Butler PW, Griffith JR, et al. Development of
an interprofessional competency model for healthcare leadership. J Healthc Manag 2008.
Nov-Dec;53(6):375-389, discussion 390-391
Al-Touby SS. Functional results-oriented healthcare leadership: a novel leadership model. Oman
Med J 2012. Mar;27(2):104-107 10.5001/omj.2012.22
Almgren G. Health care politics, policy, and services: a social justice analysis. New York:
Springer Publishing Company, 2007


Hadwan Mibrad Aldahmashi