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Authentic Leadership Essay

5686 words - 23 pages

Authentic Leadership

Leaders of the future should be obliged to embark on their own journey of personal development to earn the title leader (Whitmore 2012). The need for governance has mainly increased the pressures on organisations to have aspiring leaders with the skills needed for their fields of interest. This is supported by The Open University (on-line 2012) when it is suggested that clinical leadership is essential for service redesign, quality, innovation, productivity and prevention. It is recognised that in order to facilitate whole system approach in today’s National Health Service (NHS), leaders need to understand not only the people and culture they are trying to ...view middle of the document...

The NHS Leadership Framework helps bring together leadership principles and best practice guidance under one umbrella. It provides ‘a consistent approach to leadership and development for staff in health and social care, and represents the foundation of leadership behaviour throughout the NHS’, (NHS Leadership Council, 2011). There are a plethora of leadership theories considered in literature, which have developed through the last century, and the emergence of leadership as a defined role. Stogdill
(1974, p.259) concluded that there are “almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept” - Leadership has generated a sizable amount of research and theory (Weihrich and Kootz, 2005; Muchinsky, 2006; Spector, 2006) and the theories can often be described using different classifications. For example: The trait approach, whilst problematic could prove useful when attempting to identify or recruit a leader, the behaviour approach, which, like trait theory, explores leadership from the perspective of the leader and focuses on leader behaviours. The contingency approach suggests that leadership is about the interaction between a person (leader), his/her behaviour and the situation, and the leader membership approach (charismatic or transformational leader) is concerned with the relationships between subordinate and supervisor.

Leadership often has different meanings and there is no single definition. A common theme that appears to run through many definitions is that ‘leadership involves influencing the attitudes, beliefs, behaviours and feelings of other people’ (Spector, 2006). Conversely the definitions may be confusing; it is worth noting that there is no one correct definition of leadership. This vast range of definitions can contribute to a greater understanding of the many factors that influence leadership, as well as provide different perspectives of the concept (Hughes et al, 2006). James MacGregor Burns was the first to put forward the concept of ‘transforming leadership’. To him, transforming leadership “is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents” (Burns,1978). He went on to suggest that “Transforming leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality”. At the heart of this approach is an emphasis on the leaders’ ability to motivate and empower his/her followers and also the moral dimension of leadership. Some writers suggest that the use of transformational leadership is a suitable choice for advancing nursing leadership (Trofino, 1995; Bowles and Bowles,2000; Carney, 2006; Sullivan and Garland, 2010) the transformational leader builds trust and respect in their followers thus allowing the leader to obtain optimum performance from those around them,

However, there is some...

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