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Reflection On Management And Leadership In A Higher Education Setting Class

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I took this class to gain a better understanding of management and leadership in a higher education setting. I had some experience within industry before I joined the University of being both the manager and leader whilst working within the National Health Service (NHS). I unfortunately was not with my previous organization long enough to attended any leading national or international development courses and instead was mentored into these roles. This class seemed perfect to learn more about management and leadership at an academic level. This first section will detail how my perceptions and thoughts on management and leadership have changed throughout the class. From day one of the class it was quite clear that ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ has numerous definitions open to interpretation from each discipline. In all honesty, I did not fully understand the main differences between ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ at a level where I could confidently explain the difference between both roles during day one of the class.

One personally meaningful experience for me was on the second day of the class, the class was split into groups, each group was tasked with directing various roles to either the leader or the manager. What added value to this split class was the the tutor of the class would float between groups to provide clarity on the roles. This exercise generated a fantastic discussion in each group, at the end of the class each group was asked to present their own group placement of each role which raised some great debate amongst the class members and tutors. After this exercise and having taken down many notes I knew I had to search some of the literature to seek an enhanced understanding on all of these different views and options as I still felt my understanding was lacking. It seemed others in the class had a much better understanding than I did. From my own background reading, I began to understand management typically refers to providing specific guidance towards obtaining the desired results or achieving previously set goals through organization of tasks and implementing systems. I learned leadership is more the orientation of human relations and the organization of people(Yielder* and Codling, 2004).

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I read an article by Bennis who tried to split the roles of a manager and a leader up. They reported a manager attempts to maintain systems, has a reliance on controls, has a short range view, accepts the status quo, while a leader, promotes energy among the team, motivates the team, has a long range and even visionary view, and challenges and changes the status quo (Bennis, 1989). I currently work in a private clinical practice and I can very much relate to tis from Bennis where my role officially is the supervisor of 7 members of staff, from this reading I can reflect on this an can see myself as the leader in this role. Whereas the owner of the company I would say is defiantly the managerHowever, within academia I read it can be argued that both the academic leadership role and the academic management role require aspects of each other, which is not necessary something that can be written into a job description as a function. It may be more appropriately regarded as a quality that an individual brings to the position(Belbin, 2010). It was comforting to learn from the tutors and discussions held in the class that terms like ‘born to be a leader’ and ‘born to be a manager’, should not be taking literally.

There is no genetic gene to pass these traits on and being a leader or manager is something that is learned and mastered over a period of time. Doh explained that most management educators believe that individuals who are motivated to acquire leadership skills and develop leadership character and those who seek leadership positions are the best subjects for leadership education(Doh, 2003). Therefore, to be a leader you really have to be actively seeking that opportunity and should not be forced upon someone. Interestingly in my out of class reading I read from the author Rolfe that management responsibilities dilute expert practitioners abilities to perform effectively as experts in their field (Rolfe, 1996). This was certainly my experience whilst working in healthcare within the NHS. It was very common that as soon as clinicians began to work at a very high level they were often promoted to more senior roles which involved heavy management duties. With these new duties this forced them move them out of their expert clinical work. These roles often came with a much larger salaries and offered these people with better job status, this unfortunately far outweighed the excellent expert clinical work which they had been providing to patients within the service. As these jobs came up very quickly there was often very little time for the expert clinicians to pass over their skills or train someone to continue their expert services.

My personal opinion is there has been lost generations of expert clinicians as a result of this in the NHS. When I have had discussions with many of these, now, managers, they explain as time progressed they have become deskilled clinically and it is something they regret. My line manager for my department within the University is someone who I can say has continued to manage the department whilst still delivering excellent teaching and continuing excellent research, also still finding time to lecture internationally. They have never let go of their expert teaching to manage the department which is commendable, this for me is something which I feel is very important for me as I develop having seen the negative effect it has had in my last job. One of the out of class activities was to investigate the dominant concepts of leadership and management from a good manager within each class members own discipline. I sat down with my line manager, one dominant concept was treading others with respect and providing information or instructions to others by good communication. They went on to add for the manager to be successful they believed that delegation of tasks after clear instructions was also very important. This not only shared responsibilities but also gave the chance to pass on opportunities to staff members and also helped build new skill sets for that individual. They went on to add delegation is also a sign of trust within the manager. I had been on one management course held within the NHS about management in my old job.

When they had discussed delegation of tasks my initial thought was this was a subtle way to shift workload onto someone else. Hearing this insight from my line manager gave me a totally different outlook on the reasons for delegation and how it can be used for development purposes. During the discussion I felt that delegation can actually be a way by a manager to assess performance and show trust in his employees. I do think delegation could be easily abused and some managers, as not every manager can be as respectful as my line manager and may overlook the development of employees to offload their own work load. I also thought I had a very honest discussion with my line manger as they went on to discuss another key element of being a manager, this was admitting to mistakes when they are responsible. Using the time to not to blame others for their mistake but using the time to actually admit to the mistake and fix it. This for me was certainly another personally significant learning experience for me in which this class created.

As a teaching fellow I teach model and practical concepts of healthcare to my students to help them become clinicians. In this role I have learned that I am both the leader and manager depending on teaching element. This may be the model or practical elements which we demonstrate to the students, listening to questions, attempting to inspire them and providing continuous feedback to assist learning. To management elements such as assessments, ensuring they follow good codes of conduct and providing experiential advice through mentoring and coaching. This was something I wasn’t truly aware I was doing as a teaching fellow. From the class I thought some of the key roles a leader which I would engage in with my duties would be listening, accepting criticism and suggestions, thanking people, giving praise, growing people, inspiring others, being honest, taking responsibility and identifying the need for action. Some of the key roles I learned from the class I believe I engage in as manager is measuring performance, discipline, coaching, problem-solving, decision making, mentoring, implementing systems and organizing resources. From the class I also managed to learn the difference between coaching and mentoring. From the discussions held in class coaching is more about showing the procedure or process on how to do a short term task providing the correct direction in order to complete the task.

While mentoring is developing a relationship with that person sharing personal experiences or providing detailed advice and suggestions on how to perform more long term tasks. Coaching and mentoring has been reported to inspire and empower employees, build commitment, increase productivity, grow talent, and promote success (Serrat, 2017). Which is exactly what I do during my teaching commitments for the University. The success of coaching or mentoring hinges on effective questioning, active listening, clear feedback, and well-organized sessions(Serrat, 2017). On further reading I learned that coaching in most applications addresses performance in some aspect of an individual’s work or life; while mentoring is more often associated with much broader, holistic development as their career progress (Clutterbuck, 2008).

For me as a teaching fellow with my students, I will be providing both coaching elements and mentoring elements through my very niche profession as we develop and grow our students to become top clinicians. I would say as the class has progressed and my understanding has improved greatly I would argue that being a leader and manager within my discipline would also be responsible in providing direction, setting goals and making important decisions for the future moving forward. Leadership and management acts as a catalyst without which other good things are quite unlikely to happen(Leithwood et al. , 2008). I agree with Leithwood that someone has to be able to take charge of situation and move the team on for the better. I currently see myself mostly as a leader to the students in which I also provide coaching and mentoring to my students. Current I would fit into the situational leadership model first discussed by Hersey and Blanchard who were the initial authors of this model. This model teaches a repeatable process that leaders can modify at any point to influence the behavior of others. For approximately 4. 5 out of 5 sessions per week, which is most of my working week, I teach core theory and then hands on practical skills to students who know very little about the healthcare technique or procedure in which I teach to them. Similar to driving a car when the theory elements must be learned before the practical stages, this is much like my daily teaching commitments. I must discuss the theory of healthcare techniques or procedures before we then practice these in a hands on environment. As a department we deal with real life NHS patients, therefor we cannot afford patients to be put in any danger, students must perform and be supervised to be working safely. For almost every student in the class the first time we perform any technique or procedure it will be their first ever experience of this.

Therefore, the level of understanding which Hersey and Blanchard would refer to as maturity will be low. Within my discipline each daily tasks will be different with similar low levels of understanding initially which is why this model is suited to me. From my extensive reading of this model this model can be adapted to individual situations setting new objectives and goals at any point. I believe this model is more about adaptability to situations and can be used on an individual basis which is ideal for my students as they learn new procedures and techniques. This model is also based on followers, in my case these would be the students, who are at a very early stage in their clinical life which again fits this model well. Once I teach the theory to the students and go through a practical hands on demonstration, each student will have approximately three attempts at this technique or procedure before being assessed. This leadership style is based on telling / directing, selling / coaching, participating / supporting, and Delegating. Each of these stages from my own reading is dependent on the maturity and understanding of the followers in the team, or in my case group of students.

A few examples would be, if an individual follower (student) had a high level of maturity this model would indicate a delegation style of leadership where the leader (me) would provide minimal assistance. Conversely if an individual follower (student) had a low level of maturity, for example if they had little experience (which all would have initially) or were unfamiliar with the task a telling style of leadership would be indicated in order to ensure the followers had clarity on what was being asked and how they would be expected to execute the task. On reflection of this most of the students would be of at a telling stage on attempt 1 of their own practical stage which you would hope would progress to a delegation stage by attempt 3. This leadership style used in my example or even with an employee is clearly dependent on the maturity of the team. The goal for me would be to take each inexperienced student from a telling approach to delegation approach. However, myself as the leader will have to adapt my leadership style to match the level of maturity of each individual student. To look at how each of the stages would be implemented purely with my own understanding is outlined below.

Telling or directing

This is simply a flow of information from the leader to the group of followers. An example would be me clearly outlining the theory of the clinical procedure or technique to the class, then in a practical session physically demonstrate how to execute this safely. With clear timescales set to perform the task and instructions how to assess the quality of what has been performed. A clear one-way communication between myself and student where the lI clearly defines roles and provides direction and instruction. At some point however the student may become unmotivated or not be competent in attempt 2 of 3 of their own practical procedure which may require an adaption back to the telling phase. This stage is ideal for unmotivated, not fully competent or inexperienced followers.

Selling or coaching

The leader attempts to convince the group of specific goals or tasks providing clear instructions / methods and reasons as to why this should be done this way. The leader is also on hand to provide feedback to the group of followers being convinced this way. An example would be a conversation is had between the student and myself however I would be in control of the communication. This would be me using feedback, advise, mentoring, coaching in this setting to help promote the student to execute the hands on procedure or technique. A good example would be reassuring a student that what they were doing is something that they did very well some time before in previous session or persuading them that what they are doing is correct. participating or supportingThe leader shares thought processes with the group, in a way to promote equality among the group. An example of this would be seeking input about how best to perform a procedure or technique, even though I know the answer, providing encouragement to the group. Asking questions and harboring through process and sharing ideas and decision making in a safe manor.

For example, ensuring harmful through processes are avoided at all costs Delegating. The leader divides up tasks to group members with the leader monitoring the delegated tasks. Delegation involves keeping distance, the follower is responsible for the decisions not the leader. If things go well, compliments and encouragement are given to boost confidence. An example of this would be me dividing up tasks or responsibility’s and then allowing students to perform the tasks on patients while still under minimal supervision (to ensure no errors which would hurt the patient occur). For me learning this leadership model has been the best thing the class has taught me and has been invaluable. Now that I am aware of this implementing this further and ensuing I stick to this will hopefully develop me more as a leader. In future, I do have aspirations to become a full manager of the department however still keep on my teaching commitments as I have outlined before that this is important to me as skills can be lost. At a more senior level I still believe this model is still appropriate as it is a very respectful model, the followers in this case would be the employees who would have a much greater level of maturity in relation to the students.

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