What are the most challenging issues in your current position?" think budget constraints are perhaps some of the biggest challenges I currently face in my position. The increasing rises in the cost of providing good health care, combined with decreasing reimbursement from insurance and government agencies, pushes us to pay more attention to the "bottom line." In order to respond to this issue, it is imperative that leaders are able to maintain budget control as well as to limit budget variances. However, occasionally it is almost impossible to avoid budget shortages which in turn results in shortfalls in staff development, which subsequently leads to unhappy staff and low morale.
There are many more managers than leaders in this health care organization. Managers manage processes, leaders lead people and leaders are what we need now. Both skills are important, but to be able to adapt this never-ended changing health care system requires leadership.
As a leader/manager in your career, have you had a mentor? If so, how did he or she impact your leadership style?" really had several leadership role models. My first was my father, who really demonstrated that he cared about people. The next was the Chief Nursing Director when I was the charge nurse on the floor. She taught me a lot about motivating folks and at the same time to expect only excellence in people.
Of all the leadership models I have had, perhaps most significant was one person who provided a consistently negative example of leadership. That negative experience re-enforced the importance of integrity, clear and meaningful communication, and provided me with a very strong example of what not to do.
What advice would you give someone aspiring to a leadership position?" would encourage them to try to work for several different organizations or at least in several different parts of an agency or department. Never be afraid to take on new assignments and look for opportunities to develop a diverse skill set. In some jobs it may be necessary to concentrate on technical skills, but always look for ways to improve your management and leadership skills.
To find a mentor, one can have many mentors during their career, as leadership growth comes in stages. The skills and attitudes observed from other leaders allow one to determine if they are developing and growing into true leaders. When looking for footsteps to follow, observe their quality of work as a leader.
I believe the most important trait is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm compensates for weak skills or lack of experience and brings positive energy to the team. An enthusiastic attitude is often contagious. and, integrity...that value is at the top of the list in importance, both as a personal value as well as a morale issue.
In interviewing Ms. PC, many key leadership theories and practices were demonstrated. Key among these were the role of interpersonal skills, integrity, and the servant/leadership or collaborative method in the development of the successful leader. Of course, Ms. PC also mentioned several other key "characteristics" of a good leader, including the ability to have a sense of humor and a willingness to try new things.
Given that Ms. PC is without question a good model of a "successful leader," it is particularly telling that she listed interpersonal and communication skills at the top of the list of importance with regard to her leadership role. This is interesting in that many of the top leadership theories emphases this very point in one form or another (Lavezzoli, 2005). Additionally, many leadership studies have also indicated the major importance of good communication in the successful leadership experience. One example of this can be found in Bernard Bass's work, "Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research," which notes that good communication from leaders is one of the essential keys to obtaining employee/organization trust and confidence (the bedrock of the leadership relationship) (1989). This works simply because through good communication employees can effectively understand the organization's goals, understand just how their individual efforts contribute toward those goals, as well have some sense of the overall health of the organization and the way that individual and group efforts contribute to the level of