My own boss recently confided in me that she was having trouble with her supervisor’s leadership style. She told me that the problem wasn’t with his production or outcomes necessarily, but the fact that she never really understood where she stood with him and he was “hard to read”. I nodded and listened, and smiled just a bit because in my head was finding it rather ironic because I have often thought of her in the same context. And after those few minutes of conversation I reflected for a moment on what I thought made a great boss. And the answer was pretty clear- a great leader makes for the best boss. And in lesson 10 on transformational leadership we discussed an approach to leadership that I find to be one that is used by those leaders that are thought of as dynamic and engaging and inspirational, and what I would deem as some of the best.
I work in healthcare. And not as a nurse, or a provider, or even as a receptionist or CNA. I work in the central billing office as a medical coder. What this means is that I read physician reports, translate the services and diagnoses into codes, and then charge them out to the insurance companies or patients. It sounds pretty uneventful, but I actually like it. It’s interesting, complicated and challenging, and to be honest revenue is the only way a hospital or office can run. But also, the job is one that is “invisible” to the public, and that means we are the jobs that are a bit forgotten and boring, hidden in the back because really, no one wants to get a bill. What this does for morale is quite negative; even the most optimistic employee can lose passion and purpose after months of monotony. That’s why transformational leadership is an approach that is so absolutely necessary for a job like mine.
According to our lesson, there are two types of leadership: transactional and transformational. (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10) Transactional leadership is pretty self-explanatory in that it occurs when there is a specific transaction taking place between two people, give and take, or an “exchange”. (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10) This happens often in the billing office, where certain individuals find themselves in a leadership position because they are training a co-worker on a system or showing them the way, they approach a certain problem. And when the situation is complete and there is no more crisis or issue, the leadership bond can be broken quite easily, and nothing major changes at the office.( PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10) Transformational leadership on the other hand occurs when an individual inspires others to reach higher, to work harder, to find their own purpose and pursue it, all based on a connection made between the leader and the follower. (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10) This is where our office can find renewal. We’re already all hard workers, we have loyalty for our company, and we have good moral compasses. But a transformational leader can take those things and help us to find motivation, to go above and beyond, and all because we decide that we want to. (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10)
In lesson 10 our discussion states that transformational leadership is able to “generate high levels of excitement” and for a leader to be able to connect with their followers in a way that provides that they need to be very charismatic. (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10) Our supervisors do a fine job on the day to day tasks and leadership, but when motivation falls and morale is low, our company has brought in transformational leaders to bring this excitement back to the forefront. We have met with Dough Hanson, a motivational speaker from Texas whose focus was to help us find passion through centering our lives and daily tasks in gratefulness, laughter, and engagement. Our company also brought in a woman named Maureen G. Mulvaney who goes by MGM, who was able to use heartwarming stories, humor, and logic to help us refocus and find our passion in work. Each of these speakers were clear leaders, holding many of the qualities our lesson discusses as important: strong communication skills to help convey their vision and tell their stories clearly to their followers, strong self-confidence, clear morals, and the ability to connect their audience enough that their followers trust them. (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10) And one important aspect of transformational leadership is that connection between the followers and the leader; a great transformational leader has to be able to read the situation, or the need, and gauge the group of followers in order to approach them the right way and inspire real change. (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 10)
Walking away from serious, effective, and inspirational seminars with individuals who use a transformational leadership approach is beneficial, and it makes me think of one thing. What if a direct supervisor, on a day to day basis, could use transformational leadership to direct their employees and help them find their way every day? Being able to come into an office where the morale is high because employees connected to their boss on this type of level seems like it would be a dream, and I hope to one day find it. And if I can’t find it, maybe I could even be it.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (2019) PSYCH 485. Lesson 10: Transformational Leadership Characteristics. Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1972967/modules/items/25704958
Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (2019) PSYCH 485. Lesson 10: Transformational Leadership Defined. Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1972967/modules/items/25704957