South Florida Hospital News
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January 2017 - Volume 13 - Issue 7

Transformational Leadership in Healthcare Organizations

“To follow, or not to follow, that is the question.”
Healthcare has its fair share of economic, delivery of care and policy challenges, but what really causes all the current dysfunction? Simply put; Leadership. Leadership styles have existed since the beginning of time, and with all this time to perfect it, we still encounter leadership problems within healthcare on a daily basis. Effective delivery of leadership is essential to the success and longevity of a healthcare organization. Particularly, leadership is essential to the idea of the service-profit chain. Leadership styles exist across the board, from Transactional Leadership to Laissez-Faire, but to successfully operate any facility, Transformational Leadership must be embraced and applied.
Transformational leadership involves inspiring followers to commit to a shared vision and goals for an organization, challenge them to be innovative problem solvers, and develop leadership capacity via coaching, mentoring, and provision of both challenge and support. Happy workers equal higher efficiency, more productivity, and less down time. Competent leaders focus on enabling frontline staff members, and maintaining customer’s needs at the center of concern. Transformational leaders pay attention to the staff member’s needs, to properly deliver the best product possible. Leaders will invest in their staff, provide the technology to deliver fastest and highest quality of care, continue training throughout the staff member’s career, and compensate competitively. Ultimately, healthcare is a service centered industry, which depends on front line staff to deliver care. Especially now with many new quality metric depending on perception of care, leadership within the service profit-chain model is imperative to avoid in any reduction to reimbursement and increase patient satisfaction.
Transformational leadership does more than just create simple exchanges between managers and employee. It is a leadership style which defines the differentiation between managers and leaders. Leaders are individuals who support, mentor and coach. Within transformational leadership there are four identifying (I’s) components, which are: Idealized Influence (II), Inspirational Motivation (IM), Intellectual Stimulation (IS), and Individualized Consideration (IC). Within the four components, I consider Individualized Consideration (IC) to be the most important for the growth and development of the staff member and organization. Its concept directs the leader to pay special attention to each individual follower, and recognize their needs in order for them to achieve and grow. It opens a two-way exchange between two people, rather than manager and employer. It also emphasizes the importance of “management by walking around”. It concentrates on the idea of being available and creating trustful relationships, which facilitates staff members to comfortably communicate to leadership.
Transformational leadership is not a “cure all” remedy for the current issues in healthcare, but it addresses many common challenges that are faced. Applying transformational leadership in healthcare will embrace front line staff to allow them to perform at their best, effectively promote communication, and creating a culture of quality. Current research has shown positive correlations to outcomes and transformational leadership. If just one of the qualities of transformational leadership is embraced, significant changes to patient care can improve, which in return will benefit the organization qualitatively and economically.

Tony P. Ospina, Healthcare MBA, NHA, can be reached at

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