Leadership and Management in Healthcare


A good management and leadership framework in healthcare is important to deliver healthcare services to the entire community in efficient, equitable, appropriate and sustainable manner. This essay is going to make critical appraisal of application of leadership and management theory in healthcare and evaluate overall characteristics of healthcare managers and leaders. Additionally, this essay will also discuss the challenges that a healthcare manager or healthcare leader can face in current healthcare field and how these challenges can be overcome to improve overall quality as well as standard of entire healthcare service. The essay is also going to highlight the importance of team work in healthcare and how the effectiveness of team work can be enhanced to provide high quality as well as compassionate care to service users.

Critical appraisal of leadership and management theory:

Leadership and management are important in providing high quality and compassionate care to service users (Car et al. 2018). Both the leadership and management are similar in several aspects such as they need important professional and personal skills that can assist people to become a good manager as well as a good leader. Following are the leadership and management theories that can be applied by professionals in healthcare to provide patients with highly modern as well as high quality treatment process.

There are several leadership theories from which a healthcare manager needs to select such theories that can be applicable in that particular healthcare context. The Great Man Theory is one of the most preferred theories in healthcare, that assists healthcare managers as well as leaders to focus on developing their uniqueness, quality and skills that provide them with ability to direct the entire workforce toward meeting common organisation goal. Ginter et al. (2018) mentioned against the content The Great Man Theory, that in modern healthcare field. If healthcare professionals need to meet the ever-changing critical health needs of patients it is not sufficient to focus only on developing the individual skill of healthcare leaders, rather they also need to prioritise the skill development of entire workforce to improve overall service quality. In this aspect, Trait Based Leadership Theory is highly applicable for healthcare leaders that will assist them to focus on professional development of the entire trait of healthcare staffs rather focusing on individual skill development. Another important leadership theory in healthcare context is Behavioural Theory that assists healthcare leaders to use democratic humanistic approach in terms of developing positive behaviour in healthcare staffs. As argued by Gould et al. (2016), although The Behavioural Theory assists healthcare leaders in developing intelligence, self-assurance and positive thoughts in workplace, it fails to develop core professional skills that are important for dealing with modern health needs of patients. In this context, Contingency theory is highly applicable leadership theory, that would assist the healthcare leaders to focus on improving overall work process of task group and define the actual position as well as responsibilities of leaders in that work group. As mentioned by Stanley et al. (2016), the Contingency theory is the best fit theory in healthcare management and leadership context that assists managers to understand their responsibilities towards the organisation as well as toward the workforce and improve overall productivity of entire workforces by developing their individual professional strength. On the other hand, there are two other theories such as Transactional and Transformational leadership theory, that are used in current healthcare field (Fletcher et al. 2019). Transformational leadership Theory is most preferred leadership approach in healthcare context, that assists leaders of healthcare organisations to make positive transformation of decision-making, thoughts, morality, ethics and behaviour of healthcare staffs. Transformational leadership is important in healthcare for keeping employee motivated as well as optimistic to improve the overall quality of care. Transactional leadership Theory makes healthcare leaders highly practical and professional in terms of improving the care delivery process by providing financial and non-financial reward to employees.

Like leadership theory, there are many management theories that are applicable in healthcare context to provide best and compassionate care to patients. Attribution Theory, is most preferred management theory in healthcare context, that healthcare managers generally use to maintain a safe and positive environment for patients. As mentioned by Sonsale and Bharamgoudar (2017), through providing patients with a safe, secure and positive environment, healthcare managers can improve patients’ physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing. Another important management theory that healthcare managers can implement in their workplace is Evidence-Based Theory. This theory assists healthcare manager to take any decision regarding the patients’ health based on relevant evidences. Due to increasing complications in disease pattern, health care managers need to make proper research on patient’s health condition, that is the only process of conducting right treatment process for meeting critical needs of patients. As argued by Robbins and Davidhizar (2020), stated that, application of this theory in healthcare context is highly time consuming and costly. Utilisation Management Theory, is another important healthcare management approach that assists healthcare managers to conduct a proactive decision-making process for dealing with different critical needs of patients and to improve the overall quality of care delivery process. In this process, the healthcare manager will make a pre-set healthcare guideline to manage all the healthcare processes such as resource management, crisis management, compassionate care delivery, modernised treatment process and strong decision-making framework. Dorji et al. (2019) argued that Utilisation Management process cannot be applied in the situation in which health managers face unpredictable as well as sudden crisis.

Necessary characteristics of modern healthcare managers and leaders:

Following are the necessary characteristics of healthcare managers and leaders

Excellent communication ability is most common characteristic of modern healthcare managers and leaders. In modern healthcare field, symptoms of different diseases are highly unpredictable and complicated. Therefore, for providing highly relevant as well as modern treatment to patients to meet their critical health needs, healthcare managers and leaders need to maintain transparent communication system to get all the updates of patients’ health. Only by using strong communication skill, healthcare managers and leaders can manage a healthy and positive information delivery process in workplace to provide compassionate care to patients.

Time management is important characteristics that both the healthcare managers and healthcare leaders need to possess. The success of a treatment process depends on the ability of healthcare leaders to take right decision on right time. A healthcare manager needs to have good skill in choosing right decision for patients as well as for entire organisation timely to deal with any sudden crisis.

Adaptability is another important characteristic of modern healthcare managers and healthcare leaders that assists them to adapt in any environment and leads the entire team in correct direction to achieve organisational goals (Tretiakov et al. 2017). Healthcare leaders as well as managers need to be enough adaptive to any team, that assists them to make them adapted with the needs and preferences of team. Additionally, good adaptability of healthcare managers and leaders assists them to determine strength and limitation of each team by understanding its core values.

Empathy is important characteristics of healthcare managers and leaders that assists them to feel the emotion and psychology of patients (Bytyqi and Gallopeni, 2018). In modern healthcare field, leaders and managers need to be highly empathetic to the health needs, preferences and interest of patients that can provide the patients with caring, positive and healthy environment.

Strategic decision making is important characteristic that modern healthcare managers and leaders need to possess to meet strategic goals of organisation. Managers and leaders of healthcare organisations need to have strong knowledge on what decision needed to be taken to meet the long term and short-term goals of healthcare organisation (Seidman et al. 2020).

Resilience is another characteristic of healthcare manager and leaders that assists them to adapt in any situation by developing modern strategies to deal with them (Sheriff et al. 2017). This quality assists healthcare managers as well as leaders to be ready to deal with any sudden crisis or challenge and overcome them by making relevant risk management strategies.

Anticipated and current challenges that managers and leader face in healthcare:

In modern healthcare world, managers and leaders face different current and anticipated challenges which are as follows:

Rising healthcare cost:

In modern healthcare world, people strive to live healthy, longer and active lifestyles. In terms of making people healthy, healthcare organisations consistently make modernisation in its framework with introduction of highly modern and automated techniques, standardised medical appliances and instruments that raise the overall healthcare cost. As mentioned by Sonsale and Bharamgoudar (2017), in recent years, overall healthcare cost will rise further as the expectation of people from healthcare services rises at faster rate. In addition to this, in today’s world people suffer from complicated and long-term illness that makes it compulsory for healthcare organisations to use highly modernised treatment process that can be highly relevant to the health needs of services users. Due to dealing with these critical health condition the overall healthcare cost increases at faster rates that pose financial challenges on healthcare leaders and managers.

Political challenges in healthcare:

Political and regulatory system of country pose important impact on the overall healthcare framework. In modern political regime, governmental interferences into healthcare policies and procedures bring about new challenges for manager and leaders. As mentioned by Ginter et al. (2018), the changing healthcare regulations, newly reformed healthcare standard, changes in Codes of Conducts and modification of standard healthcare procedures pose high challenges on healthcare managers and leaders. In modern political system the involvement of different political parties into healthcare leads to continuous reformation and modernisation of current healthcare policies and procedures that make it difficult for the healthcare managers and leaders to set their skills and knowledge in this limited time to deal with these changes. This situation makes the healthcare managers and leader unable to meet newly set up standard that can interfere with their integrity and healthcare ethics.

Technological and medicinal challenges:

The advancement of technology brings about both opportunities and challenges in healthcare. Although innovative technologies in treatment process, surgery, data collection and medicine management improve the overall service delivery process, it creates shortages of physicians, medicine officers, lab assistants and field officers. As mentioned by Sonsale and Bharamgoudar (2017), due to introduction of automated service in healthcare, healthcare managers and leaders will face challenges regarding staff shortage in near future. Automated medicine management process although is introduced in healthcare to fasten the service delivery process, healthcare managers and leaders face high difficulties in implementing this process properly into healthcare as majority of staffs do not have knowledge of using this technology appropriately (Robbins and Davidhizar, 2020). On the other hand, lack of technical back up, shortages of technical staffs , lack of fund for conducting technical training for healthcare staffs will put the healthcare managers and leaders into great trouble that can interfere with the quality and standard of care delivery process.

Leadership gaps:

In modern era, training and education is considered as the backbone of healthcare framework that improves overall care delivery process by revolutionising and standardising healthcare policies, techniques and procedures. In terms of dealing with critical health needs of services-users and changing disease pattern, healthcare manager and leaders need to make consistent modification in their skills and knowledge (Dorji et al. 2019) Despite having strong leadership and management skill, many leader and managers in healthcare are unable to take effective strategies or implement the relevant policies due to lack of practicality and critical thinking skill. Many times, it happens that healthcare manager and leaders cannot sense the possible challenges and risk that are going to be happened in healthcare in near future due to their lack of proper crisis management skill. This leadership gaps of managers and leaders make it difficult for them to meet the desired goals of their organisation.

Unfavourable workplace environment:

Unfavourable workplace environment is gong to a matter of concern in current era as well as in near future for healthcare managers and leader (Maijala et al. 2018). In most of times, manager and leaders in healthcare can not get enough support from the higher officials regarding implementation of new techniques, reformation of healthcare policies and standardisation old treatment process. Many times, healthcare managers and leaders are not provided with power to take any decision that they think is important to improve overall care delivery process. This makes managers and leaders feel disrespected and abused, that interfere with their dignity and ethics.

Explaining how these future challenges can be met:

Following strategies can be taken by modern healthcare managers and leader to combat the above-mentioned challenges:

Healthcare leader and managers need to use alternate methods in terms of combating rising healthcare cost (Tretiakov et al. 2017). They need to conduct research on fund management, healthcare budget allocation, policy reformation and cost cutting by eliminating unnecessary expenses. Healthcare leaders need to research on using such strategies that not only reduce overall healthcare expenditure but also improve care service by meeting its standard.

Healthcare managers and leader can combat regulatory challenges that occur due to frequent reformation and modernisation in healthcare policies and regulation by making proper action plan in terms of developing their resilient skills. Healthcare leaders and manager need to implement compliance training, document-led program, routine audit and professional training that will assist them to become highly resilient to these changes as well as any possible future regulatory changes.

In terms of dealing with technological challenges, leaders and manager in healthcare need to conduct regular training and development programs for entire staffs which will develop their technical skills, critical thinking skill and time management (Bytyqi and Gallopeni, 2018). Leaders and manager need to consult with HR officials to form a highly skilled technical team that will provide technical backup to the workforces while any sudden technical faults will occur. Healthcare leaders will lead the team towards continuous professional and personal development that will assist entire workforce to learn how to use new technologies in improving treatment process, care delivery process and data management process.

For dealing with challenges of unsupportive work environment, healthcare managers and leader can use effective communication and interaction to make workforces understand the needs and desired goals of organisation (Seidman et al. 2020). By promoting synergistic work process with creating teams, healthcare managers and leader can improve their relationship with healthcare staffs. In addition to this, by spreading positivity in workplace, healthcare leaders can motivate healthcare staffs to work collaboratively to provide compassionate care to patients.

Explaining how that would impact on team effectiveness:

Team working in healthcare is crucial in determining the unpredictable disease pattern and critical needs of patients. As mentioned by Bytyqi and Gallopeni (2018), team works is adversely affected by challenges that healthcare managers and leaders face (Spehar et al. 2017.). For example, the rising cost in healthcare, technical challenges, regulatory challenges and unsupportive work culture damages the work harmony of team. These challenges impact adversely on mental and emotional wellbeing of leaders and managers that make them unable to lead teams toward right direction.

The above-mentioned strategies that healthcare managers and leader use to combat these challenges improve the overall strength, work process and professional standard of healthcare teams. Relevant strategies that healthcare managers can use to deal with negative thoughts and challenges encourage healthcare teams to develop collaborative effort and improve team’s productivity. The modern technologies, smart tactics and useful strategies that healthcare leaders use will assist them to direct the team towards achieving the common organisational goals.


From the above-mentioned discussion, it can be concluded that, leadership and management are crucial parts of healthcare which introduce highly modernised and relevant treatment process as well as healthcare procedures to provide best care to service users. Today’s healthcare managers and leader face several challenges such as rising cost, technical, social, workforce and political challenges that interfere with their integrity and work process. On the other hand, through using relevant strategies and smart tactics, managers and leader in healthcare can combat these challenges in effective manner. Team work is key to success in healthcare. Healthcare managers and leaders need to use such strategies that would assist entire workforce to work as a team that is important to enhance the productivity of not only the entre workforces but also the entire healthcare organisation.

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