A reflective discussion:traditional leadership versus strategic leadership

The purpose of the assignment is to explain the importance of learning  leadership strategies for public health professionals. In this piece of writing, I will also discuss the difference between traditional leadership and strategic leadership.

  • This is one of my work done for university assignment. It is a complex reflective piece which incorporates material from university notes and personal reading . Hope this help future students to construct their reflection at university level

To develop an effective public health programme for the community, leaders should entail knowledge of strategic planning with field work (Rowitz, 2014, p. 43). Reflecting back to my community work, I observed leadership situations where strategy skills played a vital role in accomplishing the task. For example, from my journey as a medical officer in a village, I can appreciate how public health officers, social workers, and other health professionals need proper planning along with leadership to accomplish successful pulse polio program for under five-year children. For instance, numerous details provided on paper and several workshops conducted before the actual date of the programme. Such instructions at population level require abilities to anticipate problem and align workforce to give better results. Therefore, leadership in public health need a great depth of knowledge about strategy.

Traditional leadership vs Strategic leadership
Before doing course in public health I assume that connecting with community as leaders is a gifted talent of many. However, now I understand that there is a difference between leadership and strategic leadership. For instance, traditionally leaders gain power from the family in which he or she born or from the top position he or she holds in the organization (Rowitz, 2014). The disadvantage of acquired leadership is many such as lack of complex thinking and inability to understand the systemic requirement of the body (Rowitz, 2014). As a result, chaos and mismanagement are common phenomena. Therefore, strategic leadership is necessary for rapid changing VUCA world (Rodriguez & Rodriguez, 2015).
Understanding of VUCA
While attending one of my lecture for Strategic leadership I came across the concept of VUCA. The dynamic and the rapidly changing world often described as VUCA world. VUCA is an acronym derived for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (Ajith, 2015). Volatility means speed, volume, and magnitude of change (Bolman & Deal, 2015). For instance, due to the rapid advancement of technology and mushrooming of brands, leadership skill required few better tools to deal with the volatile market. From my experience, during my childhood, medical practices were mostly done in small clinics, and it was based on direct patient-doctor relationship. However, with the introduction of new legislation of infrastructure and building up of the corporate hospital, the dynamic is changed to the patient and institute relationship. Uncertainty means lack of predictivity due to volatility (Bawany, 2016). Uncertainty means lack of predictivity due to volatility (Bawany, 2016). For instance, our previous generation people enter in one job and usually continue with the same job till retirement. On contrary, in current era, it’s hard to keep with one job for a person for globalization or introduction of new technologies in system (Oesch, 2013).Complexity is explained as factors affecting from inside and outside (Jones & Brazzel, 2014). In other words, absence of linearity in the problem. For instance, vaccination program was successful for few past decades. However, report published by media that measles vaccine can cause autism creates a panic situation (Holton, Weberling, Clarke, & Smith, 2012).As a result lot of parents withheld children from immunization (White, 2014). Ambiguity explained as a lack of clarity due to complexity. In an institution, it is possible that different people are interpreting the different meaning of the project. From learning of VUCA I understand that strategic leaders are trained to deal with unexpected and diverse situations.
Advantage of Strategic leadership
Today, leaders are not only there to deliver lectures and motivating people. For instance, a leader can motivate people to participate in programs such as HIV/AIDS campaigns. However, for an efficient program, one need to set priorities and goals. Therefore, learning strategy is essential for leaders in public health. For instance, from my reflection, it is easy to deliver a health talk about risk of excess intake of alcohol in the community. However, mobilizing community to participate in harm minimisation of alcohol program requires strategic planning along with leadership skill. My work in the field of rehabilitation of alcoholics paved my way to understand the problem at the grassroots level. Lin and Gibson (2003) pointed out that fighting with the wicked problem such as harm caused by alcohol, various skills are required to navigate community to achieve health improvement. Strategic leaders have an ability to have practical solutions for the community (Baker & Orton, 2010). To achieve results, they look for challenges after implementation of solution (Rice, Marlow, & Ebrary, 2012) . For example, in the case of alcohol, political leaders may argue that total ban of alcohol drinking among teenager is a practical solution. However, strategic leader understands from evidence-based practice that harm minimisation would be a more efficient solution than a complete ban of alcohol. Strategic leaders strike a balance between the government, the community, and the issues. Strategic leaders have the ability to integrate the various level of stakeholders (Strand, 2014).

Toolkit for harm minimization programme
The relationship between society and alcohol is complicated, as drinking beer and wine is a legal activity. For example, I can appreciate that drinking and socializing is an acceptable phenomenon in society. As a result, people are often reluctant to accept the program for harm minimisation of alcohol. Therefore, it is crucial for public health leaders to have a knowledge of strategy planning to work with the wicked problems. One of a tool discussed in strategic planning module is SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym and a framework to an analyse internal strength and weakness. It also investigates external threat and challenges. An example of internal factor can be a number of staff, fund, and reputation with the local community. On the contrary, external factor to consider are the accessibility of the program, acceptability by the community and view of local leaders. I never had the opportunity to learn this acronym, however, realized that it is an easy tool for public health. Drawing from my experience, I realize we never attempted any tools when organizing alcohol addiction program for population level. Now I can analyse that these tools are necessary for the alignment of various stakeholders in one direction.

How all this learning helped me for public health?
All this understanding provides me an opportunity to visualize the systematic process of strategic leadership. I think knowledge of strategy is essential for me as a deaddiction healthcare provider because I can assist my community to adopt healthy life style choices. I would perhaps endorse strategic leadership for my future public health projects. For instance, my vision is to empower family of chronic alcoholics and strategic leadership will able to navigate for my next endeavour. I presume that I will perform better with Strategic leadership because I can blend changes in the community in a focus and goal oriented way. Additionally, I feel I can use tools of strategy along with my previous leadership skills such as courage, trust, and hard work. As a next step, I need to read more about the practical implementation of strategic direction. I am not yet very precise about the outcomes in a challenging situation. Overall, going through lectures and materials for Strategic leadership certainly enhance my understanding of the systemic way of leadership.


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