Developing Leadership for Health Promotion Essay Sample

Introduction

Public health refers to the science of protecting people's health and their communities'. Public health officers are supposed to help governments devise mechanisms that would ensure that most people in their areas of jurisdiction are living healthy lives. Most countries with highly advanced economies have made significant strides towards the realisation of their objective of promoting a healthier lifestyle among its people. However, it is worth noting that there are factors prevailing in those countries that promote health inequalities. Health inequality is defined as the unfair avoidable disparity in health between different groups in society and across a population. In most cases, health inequalities are brought about by unequal distribution of wealth, income, and power. Health inequalities undermine social justice, which is a factor that makes it necessary for public health officials to come up with mechanisms for reducing them. Health care systems in developed countries are run by individuals who are highly proficient in management. Unfortunately, a fraction of them lacks leadership skills. As a result, healthcare system administrators are less effective at reducing health inequalities in society. It is critical for public health professionals who take part in administering health care to enhance their proficiency in leadership. Accordingly, this paper will explore health inequalities from a multidimensional vantage point and demonstrate how top-notch leadership skills can help public health professionals play a pivotal role in addressing the challenge. Public health professionals who are good at leadership can improve society's general health status by enhancing access to high-quality health care services in countries throughout the globe.

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 Background

Leadership is a process of social influence that focuses on maximising people's efforts to facilitate the realisation of specific objectives (Bevoc, 2016). Social intelligence, emotional intelligence, change management, industry expertise, interpersonal skills, decision-making, self-management, agility, organisational citizenship, and decision-making are some of the core competencies of leadership. Leadership is a multifaceted process, and its proficiency will profoundly influence the public health professionals' competence in leadership in the various skills mentioned above (Hunter, 2009). A significant percentage of public health professionals can hardly tell the difference between leadership and management because they assume the terms are synonymous. Management refers to the process of planning, organising, decision-making, motivating, leading, and controlling human resources to help them utilise financial and other resources in a manner that enables organisations to achieve their goals. Thus, there is a distinction between leadership and management. Leadership is a process of facilitating people to understand a vision and persuade them to work towards bringing it to fruition. In contrast, management entails ensuring the day-to-day activities which contribute to the realisation of the corporate objectives are executed appropriately. Public health professionals need to master the art of change management if they are keen on transforming the health care sector (Catford, 1997). Change management is a transformation process that gears towards helping leaders enable their teams to turn visions into reality and achieve goals.

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Leadership and Change Models

Covey's model posits that leaders ought to be in charge, have a plan, work hard, then play, come up with win-win situations, listen before they talk, appreciate that together is better, and acknowledge that balance feels best (Covey, 2004). In this light, public health professionals need to develop good leadership skills for them to enhance their effectiveness at reducing health inequalities in the health care sector. The premise is based on the fact that public health officials will be able to leverage their leadership skills to create win-win situations which shall encourage a majority of the people who would resist the changes to support the transformational initiatives.

The National Health Service developed a change model that comprises eight factors: shared purpose, spread and adoption, improvement tools, project and performance management, measurement, system drivers, mobilisation and activation, and leadership by all. Motivators, competence and compliance, and energy for change are the principles that underpin the change model (NHS, 2021). The organisation believes that all health sector stakeholders need to understand the critical purpose of the proposed changes to persuade them to support the change. Thus, public health professionals must familiarise themselves with those eight factors when improving access to top-notch health care services in the United Kingdom.

Kurt Lewin's Change Management model comprises three main phases: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. Public health professionals need to appreciate that they are supposed to be able to handle those three processes effectively to reduce health inequalities in the country. Unfreezing is regarded as the first step of the process, and the public health professionals are supposed to focus on educating the stakeholders of the health care sector on the essence of the changes they would like to initiate (Northouse, 2019). Public health professionals must employ an all-rounded system of communication during this phase for them to effectively deliberate with different stakeholders on the changes that need to be made. Advisably, public health professionals, need to adjust their change management strategies based on some of the recommendations issued by the healthcare industry’s stakeholders to minimise the general degree of resistance. Changing is the second phase, and public health professionals are expected to implement the change management strategy. Public health professionals need to ensure that a team of highly competent people handles the transition process for it to yield the desired results (Daft, 2015). The transition needs to be conducted in a fashion that ensures most of the stakeholders' fears are addressed to increase the number of people who support the changes. Most importantly, public health professionals need to monitor how change is affecting the health care system and implement corrective measures where need be to optimize outcomes. Refreezing is the final stage of the process, and it entails the institutionalisation of change. Accordingly, the public health professionals should put in place mechanisms that will ensure the change shall be upheld for the foreseeable future.

Kotler's Change Management Model comprises eight steps. Creating a sense of urgency is the first step. At this stage, the public health professionals are supposed to help others appreciate the essence of the proposed changes (DuBrin, 2015). The second step is the building of a guiding coalition. Accordingly, public health professionals need to develop a strong alliance that comprises different healthcare sector stakeholders. Post that, the public health professionals are supposed to form a strategic vision for the stakeholders to understand how the future will differ from the past. Subsequently, public health professionals need to develop a strong team that will communicate the vision to persuade people to support the proposed change. Consequently, public health professionals are expected to eliminate the obstacles that might curtail the process and create short-term wins to keep the stakeholders motivated. Finally, public health professionals should catalyze the transformational process and institutionalise the changes by making it part of the organisational culture.

Public health professionals with leadership skills are highly likely to be effective at developing teams that can improve access to health care services in the country. Great teamwork is likely to facilitate public health professionals reduce the influence of the factors causing health inequalities in the country. Teamwork is highly important because addressing those challenges is a complex process. Thus, professionals who specialise in economics, policy development, and health care needs must collaborate for them to address the challenges effectively. Public health professionals need to develop strategies that will help the stakeholders of the health care sector improve community health (Koh, 2009). In effect, the development of top-notch leadership skills is likely to help public health professionals initiate changes that will enhance public health because they will be highly effective at minimising resistance to change.

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Conclusion

Good leadership in public health plays a pivotal role in helping most people have access to top-notch health care services. The general cost of accessing health care services has been increasing steadily throughout the years. As a result, a majority of people throughout the world are unable to access high-quality health care services. In effect, most countries are riddled with comparatively high levels of health inequalities. Indeed, it is often assumed that health care inequalities are prevalent in developing countries because most of them are governed by politicians who lack leadership skills. The premise is partly true even though people must appreciate health inequalities and characterise developed countries despite the fact that they might have superior governance systems. In this light, it is clear that public health professionals who work in developed countries need to help their governments reduce health inequalities. Failure to do so is likely to result in the deterioration of developed countries' general health status, especially given that the world is experiencing an outbreak of highly infectious and chronic illnesses that pose monumental challenges for the health care system. Ineffective leadership in the public health sector can result in the massive loss of lives when pandemics break out, deterioration of quality of life, and reduction in life expectancy. In this regard, it is the governments' responsibility to ensure that public health professionals who work in their areas of jurisdiction are highly proficient in leadership for them to be highly effective at coming up with mechanisms that enhance access to high-quality health care services despite the challenges they might face as they pursue the objective.

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Reference List

Bevoc, L., 2016. Leadership Style, Toxic Leadership, Micromanaging, and Organizational Culture. New York: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Catford, J., 1997. Developing leadership for health: our biggest blindspot. Health Promotion International, 12(1), pp. 1-4.

Covey, S. R., 2004. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Daft, R. L., 2015. The Leadership Experience. New York: Cengage Learning.

DuBrin , A. J., 2015. Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills. New York: Cengage.

Hunter, D. J., 2009. Leading for Health and Wellbeing: the need for a new paradigm. Journal of Public Health, 31(2), pp. 202-204.

Koh, H. K., 2009. Leadership in Public Health. Journal of Cancer Education, Volume 24, pp. 11-18.

NHS, 2021. Change Model. [Online]
Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/sustainableimprovement/change-model/
[Accessed 20 May 2021].

Northouse, P., 2019. Leadership: Theory and Practice. London: Sage.

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