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Literature Review: Leadership Styles

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Wesleyan University
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Literature review
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Most of reviews describing leadership is inspirational. Is it beneficial? Can we get any benefit when we take a closer look at realistic leadership instead?

Dr. Henry Mintzberg gives a clear view of leaders as not heroes but everyday people. His research presents an implications of how leaders are selected and developed. His ideas are founded on systematic observation of leaders. In his published work The nature of managerial work managers did not spend most of their time in planning, coordinating and controlling, this was a shocking observation made. Instead, they spent a lot of time moving from one task to another. They spent longer on one task than the normal time it would take to complete the task. Mintzberg noted that everybody who worked in an organization were aware how the managers worked but none of them ever put this to papers. Literature have been written on the imagined view of how management should be rather than the actual observation. The imagination has it that managers lives involves analysing, making strategic decisions and planning. Engineers takes a view of leadership as process of plenty of analysis processes. Others view leadership as extraordinary persons who have the capability to inspire other people. While there is art and science in management, Mintzberg studies identifies it as a practice. Like medicine, management is also practiced, medicine is all about thinking but more to that it emphasizes on getting things done. This also applies for the managers, through a tool known as conversation. (Mintzberg, 2009) According to Mintzberg: The manager does not leave the telephone, the meeting or the email to get back to work. These contacts are the work. There is a huge difference between a leader and a manager. A tired boss is a manager who has no single idea about leadership but the worst of all is a leader who cannot manage. Mintzberg argues that management and leadership cannot be separated. Organizations needs managers who can lead and direct and not just leaders who oversee an organization with an imaginative view of the managers roles. (Mintzberg, 2017)The NHS Leadership Qualities Framework was commissioned by The NHS Leadership Centre. It describes a set of key characteristics, attitudes and behaviours that leaders in the NHS should aspire to in delivering the NHS Plan. There are fifteen characteristics within the framework, clustered around Personal Qualities, Setting Direction and Delivering the Service. The Framework aims to communicate rich data about those characteristics that distinguish what highly effective leaders should actually say, do, think and feel in order to achieve successful outcomes across the service.

NHS (National Health Service) Leadership framework entails qualities that are grouped up into three clusters which are delivering the service, Personal qualities and lastly setting direction. Personal qualities include attributes such as self-management, self-awareness, self-belief, personal integrity and lastly drive for improvement. Personal qualities is at the centre of the framework, this means the leaders who ae expected also to be managers need to draw a lot from self in order to fit the job. The leaders should be outstanding believers in themselves. They know their strength, weakness, limitations and when to use their opportunities. Their role especially in the health sector is very challenging, accounting for public accountability. The role needs someone who is resilient, bold enough at the face of criticism and able to stand alone when need arises. However this can experience a setback when the leader is arrogant or doubts his own abilities, when they fail to realise their own emotions, the leader fails to control his emotions, when they get self-centred and want to get self-recognition.

The second part of the Framework is setting directions. It is broken down into attributes that a leader should possess including seizer of the future, intellectual flexibility, broad scanning, and political astuteness and must work for results. The leader plans and sets plans for the future without ignoring the political astuteness and intellectual flexibility. They are driven to succeed this inspires so many people who are drawn to work with them. They are determined to improve the quality of services offered to the patients. Leaders who have Intellectual flexibility have the ability to react quickly to a problem and provide immediate solutions. However, this can experience failures if the leader is confined in the present and does not think of the future. When he fails to integrate and combine information, ignoring information from different sources. When the leader lacks broad scanning meaning they have a narrow focus and less or no vision. If the leader lacks political and social awareness of what is happening in Health and the political sector instead they confine their thinking to the formal structures. Failure to have results due to failure to spread efforts and concentrating in one place.

The third part of the Framework is delivery of services. This is broken down to leading change through people, holding others to account, empowering others, strategic influencing and working together. Leading change through people entails sharing the vision, improving the services and engaging others to create a platform for working together. However leading change through people might fail if the leader fails to provide a direction and lead others in achieving the set goals. Health sector is integrated with other stakeholders it is the responsibility of the leader to motivate the workers to put extra effort to realize change. The leader should also be capable to hold others to account for the level of services they offers as per the set targets. Although it is one of the methods in the NHS framework this might drastically fail if the leader ignores performance issue and does not address it.

Empowering others involves sharing the leadership responsibilities and putting others contributions as priories. Although this is one of the best techniques in providing all-inclusive leadership it might face a threat of failure in case the leader monopolizes the whole leadership process. Strategic influence involves adopting different strategies to be able to affect different parties this however might fail if the leaders does not understand the framework and the networks in the hospitals. Collaborative working involves engaging different parties including internal and external. Collaborative working however is bound to fail if the leader fails to bring along the aspect of integrated health centre neither do they share information with the involved stakeholders.

However, this approach style of leadership has two interconnected problems. The first one contains the aim of the framework which involves setting a foundation for nurturing high performing leaders in all the levels of the NHS. Data was collected sampling a few Directors and Chief Executives then used to generalize leaders in all the levels. The second problem concerns with the focus of the Framework which include self-awareness, personal integrity, management and belief rather there should be a thorough way of studying the leadership at the clinical and managerial level in NHS.

Divisions involving trenchant is another factor this involves separating experience and professional groups. The problem between the two cannot be solved by replacing set of qualities with another. NHS Leadership framework has the potential to change an organization view of managerial responsibilities from a boss of planning, scheduling and signing papers but as an accountable, integral and self-motivated manager.



Grint, K., 1997. Leadership: classical, contemporary and critical approaches.. In: K. Grint, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mintzberg, H., 2009. Mnaging. 1st ed. Sanfrancisco: berrett Kohler publishers Inc.

Mintzberg, H., 2017. Managing the myth of Health Care. 1st ed. sanfrancisco: berrett kohler publisher inc.

NHS Leadership Centre. NHS Leadership Qualities Framework 2002 [online]. Available from: URL:


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