Management and leadership are highly critical to contemporary organizations since they help to navigate complex business environments and achieve excellence in various areas of activity. Organizations operating in various contexts have different needs in terms of management, which requires leaders to be able to adjust their style and practices to current circumstances (Povah, 2012).
For non-profits, leadership is a crucial prerequisite for survival and growth because these organizations rely on leaders’ strategies for generating income and fulfilling their missions. The present paper will seek to perform a management analysis of the Helping Hand, a not-for-profit organization aiming to provide care to patients with chronic conditions.
The name of the organization was changed in order to preserve the privacy of information and comply with ethical standards. The Helping Hand is a community-based organization located in New York. The origins of the organization can be traced back to the 1970s when it was a single nursing home. The nursing home began collecting donations to prevent closure, but later it was decided that the funds could help to provide care to local residents who are not in the nursing home.
Today, the organization has close ties in the community and offers a variety of services, including post-acute, community, and managed care options. Donations are critical to the organization’s functioning since they are continuously used to fund its activities and operations.
The organization’s current mission is “to promote healing, better health and well-being to the fullest extent possible.” The vision of The Helping Hand is to redefine wellness by providing a committed and innovative response to New Yorkers’ needs for continuing health care. The key activities of the organization in connection with this mission and vision are developing continuing care programs, ensuring high quality of care, and reaching out to the community to provide services and raise awareness.
The purpose of the organization is to support and improve the well-being of people in New York by meeting their needs for health care. Consequently, the organization requires community-level partnerships and donations to fulfill its purpose. The main objectives for the organization are thus to generate sufficient funding for operations and minimize losses, monitor and improve health care delivered to clients continuously, and ensure adequate levels of awareness about its services and programs to attract clients and donors.
One current leader who was selected for analysis is the Director of Enrollments called Max. He has been a part of the Helping Hand for almost six years and currently oversees all activities of the Enrollment department, including relationships with independent contractors, such as marketers from hospitals, the community, nursing homes, licensed home care agencies, and certified home health agencies. Max is a talented leader who exhibits many practices that contribute to the organization’s leadership. Three leadership practices that he applies in his work are goal-setting, offering support, and recognition of achievements.
Firstly, Max is responsible for the results of the entire department, so he provides focus to his subordinates by setting clear, measurable goals. This practice is an example of Achiever action logic that contributes to the strategic development of organizations (Rooke & Torbert, 2005). Like many other managers, he is strongly action-oriented and focuses on activities that drive the results of his department, encouraging others to do the same (Mintzberg, 1990).
The practice of goal-setting is crucial for providing workers with a sense of direction and purpose, which contributes to performance (Dunst, Bruder, Hamby, Howse, & Wilkie, 2018).
Secondly, Max provides his subordinates with the support needed for them to fulfill their duties. For instance, if an employee is struggling with a task, they can come to him and ask for advice. This is an example of a coaching practice, which is crucial to leadership since it improves perceived organizational support while also encouraging employees to learn and develop (Dunst et al., 2018). It also contributes to individual and team results by enabling employees to fulfill their performance goals (Ely et al., 2010).
Thirdly, Max recognizes the achievements of his followers when they reach or exceed the set performance goals. While financial rewards and bonuses are rarely offered, he provides positive verbal feedback and non-financial rewards for employees of the week or month. Performance rewards are an important motivating factor for employees because they encourage them to perform better while at the same time being an essential part of the leader-member exchange (Dunst et al., 2018; Odumeru & Ifeanyi, 2013). Hence, all three leadership practices are vital to Max’s work in the department.
Effect on Current Leader on Culture
Through their practices, values, and vision, leaders have a critical impact on their organization’s culture. Max oversees an entire department, meaning that his leadership practices affect many followers, thus influencing the organization as a whole. Based on the discussion of Max’s leadership practices, as well as on observations, the culture within the department is very results-driven and high-paced. Workers have clear, measurable goals and objectives for each time period and work relentlessly toward achieving them.
While this culture promotes performance, it can be damaging to the work environment because team members rarely communicate with one another except for when necessary and have somewhat distant relationships. In addition, the culture set and supported by Max does not always recognize employees as individuals, focusing on the outcomes of their work instead. A performance-oriented culture has been undoubtedly supported by Max’s leadership practices. He also sets an example for his subordinates by working diligently to achieve great results.
The assessment of the organization has highlighted two critical strengths that are important to its current position in the market. First of all, the organization has strong ties with local contractors. These include marketers from hospitals, the community, nursing homes, licensed home care agencies, and certified home health agencies. Because The Helping Hand provides continuing care services, local partnerships are critical to ensuring a flow of new clients and raising community awareness. Capitalizing on this strength could help the organization to acquire more clients and donors, thus fulfilling its objectives.
Secondly, the organization also benefits from the high quality of care provided to patients. Reviews concerning its facilities are mostly positive, indicating an adequate level of patient satisfaction. Maintaining the high quality of care is crucial for care providers since there are many alternative providers for patients to choose from, and they often rely on reviews for selection.
At the same time, quality of care is essential for meeting various requirements set by the government and certification agencies. Therefore, this strength allows The Helping Hand to attract new clients and stay in business. It can also be used for future development by advertising the organization’s high satisfaction rates. This would help it to acquire new clients and donors.
Despite the strengths highlighted in the previous paragraphs, the organization is constrained by some weaknesses. The two most important limitations that should be discussed are the low local coverage and the narrow range of programs offered. The Helping Hand aims to serve all New Yorkers, but its facilities are concentrated in Manhattan, with only one center in Brooklyn.
By ignoring other highly populated areas of the city, the organization loses access to many clients, which threatens its vision and objectives. Additionally, it puts the organization at risk of competition because there are other care providers who cover more popular locations in the city, and clients are likely to choose facilities that are near them whenever they need health care.
The second weakness that affects the organization’s current performance is the limited number of programs offered. The Helping Hand only provides three programs: community, post-acute, and managed care. The services offered depend on the condition, but the low variation of problems suggests that the organization does not respond to the needs of all its potential clients.
Patients with chronic diseases differ a lot in terms of their needs in health care, and the ability to customize programs and offer more variety is thus critical for care providers serving this patient population. Failure to meet patients’ needs contributes to the threat of competition experienced by The Helping Hand. If its main competitors provide more programs and services, some customers would be tempted to select them instead. Thus, this weakness could affect the organization’s current and future success.
While strengths and weaknesses offer information regarding the organization’s current situation, it is also essential to explore potential options that could be used for future development. The first opportunity for The Helping Hand is to use social media to attract clients and funding. Social media is one of the most significant trends in the contemporary world, and its popularity among people of various ages is substantial.
In the United States, 72% of people have a social media account and use it to communicate or receive information (Pew Research Center, 2019). Consequently, social media presents an excellent environment for engaging stakeholders and raising awareness about services or programs. The organization could utilize social media more effectively, thus generating funding and attracting new clients.
The second opportunity that is evident in the organization’s external environment is telehealth. The development of online communication technologies has affected healthcare by allowing continuing care to occur online. Telehealth has been widely used during the COVID pandemic to support chronic care patients (Robeznieks, 2020).
The use of telehealth technologies has great potential since it can promote the continuity of care both during crises and in ordinary circumstances (Holyk, Pawlovich, Ross, & Hooper, 2017). As an organization providing continuing care, The Helping Hand could use telehealth to extend the range of services offered and reach new clients.
At the same time, there are also threats that could affect the organization’s future by impacting service delivery and demand. On the one hand, the United States is experiencing a shortage of health care providers, and this trend is projected to worsen over the next decade. For example, Corso, Dorrance, and LaRochelle (2018) reveal that physician shortages have persisted in America despite efforts to address the issue. Similarly, qualified nurses are in deficit all over the globe (Marc, Bartosiewicz, Burzynska, Chmiel, & Januszewicz, 2019).
In the future, this trend could affect the organization’s ability to provide services to its target populations, resulting in the deterioration of care quality.
On the other hand, sociodemographic trends could put significant pressure on continuing care providers in the future. Populations are growing older, but many health concerns remain unresolved, leading to an ever-increasing share of people suffering from chronic diseases. Coupled with the expected shortage of care providers, this trend is potentially damaging for The Helping Hand since it could create an overwhelming demand for services in the face of insufficient supply. Addressing these threats while capitalizing on the opportunities in the external environment should be the focus of the organization’s strategic development.
In order to evaluate the identified leader, trait theory has been selected. The trait theory was first proposed by Stogdill in 1974 based on the idea that excellent leaders were distinguished from the rest by their qualities, such as self-confidence, drive for responsibility and task completion, persistence, venturesomeness, originality, and more (Coggins, 2020).
In recent years, scholars have identified other qualities that are essential for modern leaders but still fit into the framework of the trait theory, including innovativeness, decisiveness, authenticity, compassion, and proactivity (Sheppard, Sarros, & Santora, 2013). Combining the original and novel approaches to trait theory allows evaluating Max and his leadership in greater depth.
The first strength that is evident in Max is his proactivity. He is a very action-oriented person and often anticipates tasks and projects before they come. For example, he comes to work earlier than the rest of the department in order to prepare for the day and start acting as soon as possible. This is a positive quality based on the original trait theory, and it also sets an example to other employees, establishing Max’s role as their leader and not merely a manager (Coggins, 2020).
The second strength that should be addressed is Max’s diligence at work. If the team is struggling with completing goals, he will stay behind at the end of the day to make sure that all tasks are completed. If there is a challenging project, he will spend sufficient time on it to make sure that it meets the requirements and that the outcomes are excellent. This reflects Max’s vigor and persistence, which are both parts of the original trait theory’s vision of exceptional leadership (Coggins, 2020).
Finally, Max is a decisive person who takes responsibility for the performance of his team. This shows his drive for responsibility and willingness to take the initiative as per the trait theory (Coggins, 2020). For instance, if there is a problem caused by one of the team members, Max will take responsibility for it and do everything in his power to support the team in addressing the issue. This earns him the admiration of his followers while also demonstrating personal leadership qualities.
Nevertheless, there are also some weaknesses that could be stopping Max from achieving new heights in leadership. Specifically, Max is inflexible in his approaches to leadership and management. For example, his practices have stayed roughly the same over the past years despite changes in the organization and its environment. As explained by Sheppard et al. (2013), leaders of the 21st century must be flexible in order to adapt their strategies and practices to the fast-paced environment and stay effective despite changes. Hence, Max needs to address this weakness in order to become more efficient.
The second weakness of Max is that he lacks creativity and innovativeness when it comes to problem-solving (Coggins, 2020; Sheppard et al., 2013). When there is a problem, he typically looks at previous solutions to similar issues instead of thinking of a better way to resolve it. This is a weakness by the trait theory, and it could impact his performance in the future.
Finally, it cannot be said that Max is a compassionate person who can take the initiative in social situations and treat his followers like individuals. Compassion and interpersonal initiative are required by both approaches to the trait theory (Coggins, 2020; Sheppard et al., 2013). Max often treats his team like a machine instead of considering each member and their struggles individually. This could affect his leadership by impairing relationships with followers and the work environment.
Recommendations for the Current Leader
In line with the outcomes of the analysis, there are three recommendations that could help Max to address his limitations and improve leadership. Firstly, it would be beneficial for him to engage in participative decision-making more often by asking employees about their perceptions of particular decisions, policies, or projects. This would help him to demonstrate initiative in social situations while also contributing to creativity and innovativeness in decision-making (Coggins, 2020; Sheppard et al., 2013). For example, Max could use participative decision-making to set project goals or objectives for each time period, resulting in higher employee engagement and improved work climate.
Secondly, it is recommended that Max spends more time with employees both at work and out of the office when appropriate. This would allow him to learn more about his subordinates, thus developing compassion and individual treatment that are necessary for enhancing Max’s leadership (Sheppard et al., 2013). For example, he could plan regular teambuilding events and participate in them.
Finally, reflection would be an excellent opportunity for Max to assess his leadership practices, principles, and values and plan future improvements. According to the leadership learning model proposed by Tesone (2004), reflection is the initial step in leadership development since it leads to greater self-awareness and allows defining areas where action is needed. To apply this recommendation, Max could begin writing a leadership journal noting his interactions with subordinates during the day and reassessing them based on specific leadership theory.
Overall, the chosen organization is a not-for-profit care provider that operates in a complex and competitive environment. Under these circumstances, excellent leadership is essential for The Helping Hand to succeed and grow in the future. Max is the Head of Enrollments, who is an experienced and effective leader, but the analysis shows that there are some gaps that he should consider addressing to enhance his leadership.
The recommendations provided in the paper will support Max on this journey since they target his main weaknesses and encourage personal and professional development. It is expected that following these recommendations will help Max to become a better leader while also contributing to the organization, its working climate, culture, and performance.
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