Crisis situations produce many phenomena and bring to light both the weaknesses and strengths of individuals, organisations and society in general.
That is why we are going to try to analyse some aspects that become fundamental when dealing with crisis situations, such as the health crisis we are currently going through.
To this end, we are going to reflect on leadership, human resource management and material resource management. This week we will focus on leadership.
There are many theories of leadership as there are many people who have written about leadership, but there are two theories that we should approach at this time as they are the theories of situational leadership and the theories of transformational leadership.
A health care organization in a time of crisis and instability where all the principles and processes suffer a convulsion is not the same as in times of greater stability. It is at this time that the weaknesses of nursing managers in their ability to lead crises and the need to develop competencies are most evident. It was Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard who first drew our attention to the different situations of organizations and companies. According to these situations, the manager nurses must focus on developing one or another style of leadership, always under the consideration of the degree of maturity of the organization, the collaborators and the different work groups.
This is where the previous work of identification with the organization and with the objectives will be key. In order to arrive at a moment of crisis, the work teams must have sufficient maturity to be able to lead the organization with flexibility. Otherwise, the lack of trust and commitment at this time must be addressed through strategies that bring the focus closer to the people by listening to them and considering their needs.
In this sense, we have found managers who have changed their work shifts without personal consideration, even via whatsapp. This only exacerbates disenchantment, lack of performance and loss of identification with the organization, which is true that losing identification with the patient requires more than a bad manager.
Situational leadership leads us to four different scenarios depending on the level of development of the nurses. Even at different times or in different situations, it will be necessary to vary these styles with flexibility in order to maintain or improve the degree of commitment. The styles will be:
Management style. In which the manager nurse must show a high concern for the task. In this time «Covid» the preoccupation for the task and the fulfillment of the processes is key to reach the objectives.
The persuasive style. Although the leader continues to mark the task, allowing the group to carry out and incorporate feedback, it can well be understood when the top management of the organizations must listen to the operational level managers about close management, with individualized consideration (we call attention because this is a characteristic of transformational leadership), taking into account the needs in a triple direction, nurse, patient, organization.
Participatory style. As time has passed «covid» leaders have had to listen and leave the decision making close to the frontline professionals, knowing their demands, concerns and needs.
Delegation style. This is a style that directly empowers groups of nurses. It is easy to understand that three months after having teams of nurses at the head of the management of the Covid, they are the ones who know deeply about the management of care, material and human resources, because it is better than making shared and even delegated decisions.
We could well argue some more reasons for the development of competencies in the situational leadership environment and the management of these four styles with flexibility and change, almost on a daily basis. Some other reasons besides flexibility to adopt situational leadership styles are
Adaptability, allowing anticipation, management of change and the unexpected. The situational leader adapts and moulds his or her behaviour according to daily circumstances and events.
Rational and emotional personalization. Characteristic close to transformational leadership, where the leader adjusts at every moment with more directive or more delegating behaviors to each situation.
Motivation and improvement. By means of flexibility and continuous adaptation to the circumstances of each moment that is lived, leading the team when it is necessary, a reference capable of making decisions and taking steps forward when it is necessary, and capable of delegating or sharing when it is necessary, it only improves the motivation and the spirit.