The concept of leadership fits with the mission of Siena Heights University “to assist people to become more competent, purposeful and ethical.” People that are in a leadership position are in a unique position to assist and promote others in their career ambitions. They also are in a position that is highly visible and representative of the organization. They are usually held to a high standard of moral and ethical behavior, and can have substantial impacts on the success or failure of an organization. I also think the mission statement of the graduate programs of Siena Heights University can also be applied to the concept of leadership, by “fostering the personal and professional living of a purposeful, competent, and ethical life. The graduate programs encourage contemplation and the sharing of the fruits of that contemplation”, which is so important when mentoring the leaders of the future.
Leaders that exhibit ethical behavior can powerfully influence the actions of others and drive the culture of a work environment. Within the organization that I have had the opportunity to serve, the core values are communicated by actions mostly – in the ways in which business is conducted on a day-to-day basis, and not so much in words directly spoken or written. I am a strong advocate of demonstrated values more than written or spoken because actions speak louder. I also believe that written values that reinforce and support specific actions, and specific actions that reinforce and support written values, make a powerful combination. Their power far exceeds the power of one or the other by itself. A strong leader chooses the values and the ethics that are most important to them, the values and ethics they believe in and that define their character. They live them visibly every day at work. Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you when you are in a position to lead and influence others.
In order to become a successful leader, education is vital. Ethical leadership requires knowledge and recognizes the moral obligation to know enough to do the job right. Personal integrity and respectful decision-making processes are not always enough, especially when it comes to patients and their health. The better informed and knowledgeable the leaders of an organization are, the more likely they are to make the right decisions. Graduate programs in health administration currently train their students for increasingly diverse sectors within the field of healthcare management, including integrated delivery systems, managed care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, consulting firms, internet firms and even investment banks (Robbins, Bradley, Spicer, & Mecklenburg, 2001). The healthcare industry is one of complexity and constant change, and it can be challenging to stay current as a leader in the field.
Having authority, power, or influence alone doesn’t guarantee leadership. Leadership is an activity that helps others see what they need to do and supplies them with the tools and feedback they need to make progress (Ulstad, 2017). The United States leads the world in healthcare spending, devoting almost 18 percent of its gross domestic product to healthcare costs – and that percentage is slated to continue rising, but is not sustainable (Oshiro, 2018). In an effort to reduce the financial burden healthcare systems are searching for ways to provide higher quality care and improve outcomes while also decreasing costs. The leaders of the healthcare industry need to be educated, ethical, and confident in their abilities to make changes happen.
The best leaders recognize that change happens when the people they lead believe in their own worth and ability. As President Obama said in an interview that took place at the end of his time in office, “Leadership isn’t just legislation, it’s a matter of persuading people and giving them confidence, and bringing them together and setting a tone” (Obama, 2017). To be an example to others, and to give them the tools and encouragement they need to succeed is the type of leader that I admire most and is why I chose to pursue my education at Siena Heights University.