Leadership leadership approaches is the situational theory. The term

Leadership can be defined as “a process of social
influence, which maximises the efforts of others, towards an achievement or
goal” (Kruse,
2013 p.3). This essay will discuss both situational leadership
theory and transformational leadership theory; analysing and evaluating these
theories, whilst comparing them against each other and with their relevance
with paramedic practice. Both theories are relevant within practice, Situational leadership is
imperative due to the everchanging situations as paramedics and for healthcare professionals.
Transformational leadership is especially relevant for students as they will be
transitioning from a student to a qualified paramedic, also as they learn from their
mentor’s knowledge and experiences, whilst gaining their own experience. Secondly,
for the members of the crew, they must be able to work together and contribute
their own experience and knowledge to reach the end goal, which is the best treatment
for the patient. This essay will also evaluate the leadership styles used
within multi-professional settings, as they are common encounters for
paramedics; including an example from practice. Lastly, a discussion of my own personal
leadership potential in relation to practice.

One of the most recognized
leadership approaches is the situational theory. The term ‘situational’ refers
to the style being transferable and can be applied to any situation. Some
situations will require a different leadership style or behaviour to achieve
the goal or outcome. For this to occur and the leader to be an effective
leader, they must adapt to the change in situation and how their followers
react to the situation. The
situational theory was originally based on Reddins (1967) 3D management style
theory, and has been further developed by Hersey and Blanchard (Northouse,
2016). Reddin suggested that a
leader can assess the situation and identify what behaviour is most appropriate
as cited in (Webdesign,
2017). Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory, draws upon
views for non-routine thinking (Heresy and Blanchard, 1970). The Hersey and
Blanchard leadership model, is a situational leadership model demonstrating
that there is no correct leadership style that can be used for every situation
and that successful leaders must adapt their style based on their follower
maturity (Staff, 2017). Situational leadership theory focuses on the types of
leader behaviour, for example, task behaviour and relationship behaviour. It
suggests that a leader’s task behaviour and their relationship behaviour
interact with the follower’s maturity level significantly; influencing the
leader effectiveness (Blank, Green and Weitzel, 1990).

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Transformational leadership
theory is “the process whereby a person engages with others, creating a
connection that increases the level of motivation and morality in the leader
and the followers” (Northouse,
2016). Bass and Riggio (2006) state that this theory includes Idealized
influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and
individualized consideration (Kramer,
2007). This style of leadership allows
the leader to help their followers exceed their initial performance by
encouraging changes to their norms, values, or personal interests. The leader therefore
empowers their followers, making the followers feel enabled and empowered
instead of abandoned (Jasper and Jumaa, 2005). This can be done by the leader
sharing personal experiences and knowledge with the followers (Choi, Kim and Kang, 2017). By sharing personal
morality and experiences with their employees, their intrinsic motivation grows,
and their organizational commitment increases (Tu & Lu, 2013). Transformational
leadership helps team members to think freely, enabling them to visualize the
bigger picture and maintaining their commitment toward the end goal and
accomplishment of this vision (To, Tse, & Ashkanasy, 2015). It also focuses
on using motivation and inspiration to improve the followers’ performance and
their development. The leader must take in to account aspects such as standards
and emotions, and the leader can then transform their leadership style and
approach depending on the follower’s needs (Northouse, 2016).

Transformational leadership is both
relevant to paramedic practice, as well as the rest of the NHS as we are
constantly working with new people in different situations. Jasper and Jumaa (2005),
state that the use of transformational leadership empowers all professionals to
reach their full potential and deliver the best service for patients. For
paramedics it is especially relevant within a constantly changing and
competitive environment; by creating unity between the leader and follower, it
improves the service. In practice for transformational theory to be applied,
the leader will engage with their crewmate and even other paramedics, to work
together to establish a treatment plan, possibly sharing previous experiences,
or motivate each other. Whereas, Situational leadership theory is relevant to
paramedic practice as our situations change between jobs. Thus, as paramedics,
we must be able to adapt our leadership style to overcome barriers and/or reach
the end goal; which is the best treatment for our patient. Within practice, an
example of situational leadership would be, the mentor knowing where the
student is in their development, so that they are able to offer the correct
level of support for them to grow and develop (Hinchliffe,
2010), and decide how best to lead, whether they use a high
supportive-low directive style or high directive-low supportive. Finally,
transformational theory is also relevant in terms of being a mentor, as the
paramedic will engage with their student and even though they are the member of
authority within the team, they will motivate the student for them to overcome barriers
and improve their overall performance. In contrast, the use of the situational
theory allows the leader of the situation to have control over what is
happening and allows them to change their methods or ways of leading the other
team members within testing circumstances

 

Emotional intelligence
(maturity) is also essential in leadership, especially in situations where the leader’s
role is to get others to do their jobs more effectively (Goleman, 1998)
therefore linking in with transformational leadership theory. (Goleman, 1998) states
that in a study, 90% of their success in leadership was accountable to
emotional intelligence, and for most jobs emotional competence is twice as important
as cognitive abilities. Concluding that, for someone to be a good leader, they
must be mature and show a high level of emotional intelligence and know how
their team work. You could argue, however, that emotional intelligence is used
within situational leadership, with the leader needing this level of maturity
to make the decision of how to proceed and lead their followers.

Situational theory encompasses
a directive and supportive approach, where the leader will instruct but also
support the team members that are lacking confidence (Northouse, 2016).
Northouse, (2016) explains that directive behaviour is ordering the follower
what to do and how to do it, whereas, supportive behaviour shows two-way
communication between the leader and follower. Delegative approach is also
included in situational leadership, it provides the team members with jobs and
individual goals. For this to be effective, and to determine what is needed in
a situation, the leader must assess the competence of their followers and
adjust their approach either more supportively or more directive, (Northouse,
2016). Whereas transformational theory, is more about promoting innovative
problem solving and bettering the overall team performance (Aryee et al., 2012),
it therefore encourages team members to be innovative and goal focused, consequently
contributing to team effectiveness (Braun et al., 2013; To et al., 2015). This
is done through motivating the team and understanding their follower’s
capabilities, level of motivation and commitment. Using intrinsic motivation
has positive effects on team effectiveness and therefore the outcome, the team
consider themselves as a single body and share their understanding of work
tasks; and how best to complete these with each other, creating a supportive
environment and articulating innovative ideas throughout the task, increases
the team’s overall effectiveness (Aryee et al., 2012). According to NorthouseAV1 , (2016), Bass and Riggio (2006),
suggests the reason that transformational leadership is so popular is because
of its emphasis on intrinsic motivation and follower development, fitting the
needs of today’s workers. Today’s workers, want to be inspired and empowered
for them to succeed especially in times of uncertainty. The recent book of Bass
and Riggio (2006) titled “transformational leadership”, shows evidence that
transformational leaders have more satisfied subordinates than non-transformational
leaders, suggesting that the followers feel more valued and involved. On the
other hand, Kramer, (2007) JuxtaposesAV2  this,
they explain that based on Bass and Riggio (2006), transformational leadership
has no definitive link with causing organizational change, however, charismatic
leadership shows a link with change, the authors, suggest that this is down to
a lack in information (Kramer, 2007). One would agree, as there is not enough
evidence to make this decision.

The greatest benefit of
situational leadership is Unlike the trait theory, and contingency theory,
which both demonstrate a fixed style for the leader, the situational theory has
bounds of flexibility for the leader and the followers to be moulded within a situation.
Allowing them to move along the development continuum, improving the follower
and the leader’s leadership qualities (Northouse, 2016). For example, If the
follower is competent but lacks confidence, the leader may adapt their approach
into a more of a coaching manner, to guide them in the right direction without
showing authority, On the other hand, if they lack competence but not
confidence, the leader may use a high directive, but low supportive style,
where they instruct them what to do and just observe whilst they do it (Northouse,
2016). It can also be argued that transformational leadership includes an element
of flexibly as it is centred around motivation and gaining the best outcome,
there is not a rigid structure to achieve this. On the other hand, Situational
leadership theory has some negatives For example; there is an element of
ambiguity between the assessing the follower’s development level and their
commitment level, it is consequently hard to determine the relationship between
commitment, competency and the levels of development shown by the Hersey and Blanchard model, as
cited by Northouse, (2016) Blanchard also states that a follower’s commitment
is made up of confidence and motivation, but it is uncertain how these to
add to equal commitment.

An example of the leadership
styles witnessed within a multi-professional setting during practice is an RTC
(Road Traffic Collision). In this scenario, there were paramedics, fire service
and police on scene. The team leader of the fire service made it apparent he
was in charge by using situational leadership, but an authoritative approach
whereby he ordered his team. This created a controlled environment with every
member of that team knowing what to do. The paramedics, also used situational
leadership, but used a delegative approach, where they would give each other
jobs in order to be more efficient, and when appropriate, used a directive
approach and this created one definitive leader, for example, the extraction of
the patient from the vehicle; the person whether it be a paramedic or fire
service (in this case, a paramedic) used his authority to lead the extraction,
controlling everyone from the head end, providing controlled movement and the
best outcome for the patient; and he therefore at this time used situational
leadership theory and adjusted his leadership style to authoritarian approach. The
paramedic used a high directive-high supportive approach towards his student,
this meant that they knew what was asked of them and the instructions were
clear, this was also the students first RTC, so the support meant that they
felt more confident and this meant that their performance was enhanced. This
was also done by using transformational theory, encouraging the student, and
making them feel confident enough to do the jobs asked.

As a
student paramedic, there are limited leadership opportunities. Saying this,
there are ways one can improve their leadership potential whilst training and
once qualified. For example, taking lead where possible; this will help develop
the student’s leadership style and confidence. Once qualified, using a
participative style and a democratic approach, would allow the team to be
involved in decision making, allowing them to give their opinions on treatment
plans. Creating an environment where followers, whether they are students or
crew members, feel able to express their thoughts. This creates a relaxed
environment, and improves the team’s effectiveness. Which overall will achieve
better care of the patient. A delegative style can be used to improve
effectiveness. Where appropriate, using elements of autocratic leadership
depending on the situation, which is where situational leadership comes into
play. 

In conclusion, situational
leadership theory, resembles a leader who is adaptable and ready for change,
this theory can be used in conjunction with transformational theory. This is due
to situational theory representing that there is no best or only one style to
use. Situational leadership has great involvement in practice, for example; the
leader needs to adaptable. however,
the leadership styles used within this (democratic and authoritarian) are not
always the best approach. Therefore, transformational leadership should be used
with conjunction where possible, using motivation, and supportive behaviour as
this has shown to give the best results. This leader, understands their followers
and knows how they work best. Finally, it is wise to think that a good leader
will also have a high level of emotional intelligence. This is also relevant to
practice due to the things we experience and the level of responsibility we have